i think i can i think i can

i can set pencil to paper and make a new world

it can be music, it can be drawn

and i believe i can learn something new

my second attempt to create a set of featured posts. 

(If you’re new to The Full Vine, welcome to the tail end of a blog-maintenance hiatus.  If you’re used to reading TFV, God bless you for your patience!  It’s almost done!)


A Dreamy Space

When we lived in our first home together, a small apartment, Jon and I were squished.  Delightfully squished.  Some people said we just had way too much stuff, but we knew that our hobbies were simply the type that require some space.

(And I was also majorly pack-ratting at the time.  Every single item that came through the door, even garbage, was a potential art tool. 

I was into assemblage, collage, and bookmaking.  Since then I’ve given my involvement in those art forms a temporary mental funeral.  There’s just no room here; and quite frankly, I have no mental room left either. 

Shel Silverstein would draw mountainous piles of ideas, spilling ratty papers out the sides, if he could see how many painting, drawing, sewing, and music projects are on the back burners right now.  Of several stoves.

So no assemblage.)

(random picture of our very small kitchen and my very full belly back then)

Anyhoo, we were surrounded in that first home with movies galore, history books, acrylic and oil paints, canvases, notebooks, musical instruments, and the like.  And so was each person who ventured within for a squishy meal in our studio/library/dining room over the noisy one-way street.

Here in our “for real” house, we have quite a bit more room.  Plus, having fired the pack rat, there is some sort of organizational sense to the place.  I think.

Thus, I actually have room, blessedly, wonderfully, to set up a dreamy sewing space in our basement.

Jon practically begged me not to do so in “the dungeon.”  I think he felt bad, like I would be suffering down there.

But I’m a little bit like Jo from Little Women.  I like a good cobwebbed space, a few exposed beams, a little sawdust on the floor, and room to dream things up.  If I get paint on the floor, it’s no big deal.  And the washer, dryer, and ironing board, all integral parts of the sewing process, are RIGHT THERE.

Best of all, I can leave sewing and painting projects lying around and no chubby little fingers will get pricked or painted by accident.  🙂

So this is where I work (when I’m not working), where I invest time in future projects, in Christmas gifts, in mending, ironing, extending, and saving wads of cash (I hope) for the good and glory of my family.

(dreaming things up) (I have man hands in this photo)

I’m so thankful to have the space for this now, as I know many women don’t.  If that’s you, hang in there.  You never know what little nook will turn up, or what idea might pop into your head unannounced – a dream of a dreamy space, perhaps.

The Great Crayola Debate

One of my favorite smells is the inside of a large box of Crayola crayons.

(By the way, my Sweet Babboo and I are involved in an ongoing debate regarding these tools: Is it pronounced cray-ons or crans?  Feel free to comment.  I’m prepared to tuck tail, as I’m usually wrong.  :-))

So on a rainy day, I LOVE breaking out the giant drawing pad and cray-ons – or crans – with my 1 year-old.  It’s a special thing for him still, since I don’t let him use this stuff every day. 

It’s been delightful watching him learn to hold a writing instrument and make bold, swishing motions across the paper.

And I HAVE to draw something in the area or I’ll burst. 


So what am I supposed to tell Riley?

It’s coloring time!  Let’s use our cray-ons…?


It’s coloring time!  Let’s use our crans…?

Either way, it’s awfully fun.

More fun if lots of people choose my pronunciation.

There’s many ways to keep a passion alive, even when the days don’t allow much time for hobbies or practicing the arts.  And if it’s something that keeps me connected to my kids,


Little Boy Blue

Snatches of time are about all I have for art these days.  Beautiful, rejuvenating snatches of time. 

This one was a few minutes on the floor, cooing to my son and trying to capture his chubby cheeks on a piece of cardstock.

My goal was to use unlikely colors to express his babyness, keeping it realistic but freeing it to be “sketchy” and unusual.

“He looks so chubby!” you may say.

He is.  Especially when he’s lying down.

“He has so much hair!”

Yes he does.  We make hairy kids, apparently.

“But he’s BLUE!  And pink!”

Obviously not for real, but in my imagination a personality can be a color, and a mood can be a squiggly or straight line.

There he is for real.  Normal.

I hope you can tell what mood he was in based on my sketch.  Not a perfect representation of his face, but close – and it was so much fun to draw again.

By the way, oil pastels are a mother’s best friend.  I don’t have time to lay out all my paints, get messy, clean up, and stash away all those tempting treasures before my toddler can tromp through them and wreak havoc.

But I do have time to grab a pastel and dab on a little texture, capture an eyebrow, or a gleam in his eye. 

It all boils down to contrast – to highlights and lowlights…

…especially if you look at it in terms of black and white.  Just dark and light values. 

Those values could be expressed in ANY color you like.  I just grabbed whatever interested me at the moment. 

Thus, Quinn appears to be blue, yellow, and pink, with some blended greens and purples showing up by accident. 

And why not?  I’m glad I had a snatch of time to capture my little boy’s vibrant and serious mood.  He won’t be still like this much in the future, when even the camera will have a hard time keeping up.

Love you, Quinn.  ~Mommy

Sketchbook I

The plan for today was to post an original song.  But there was a little problem with our recording equipment – me!  Apparently I did 5 takes of one song… and none of them were actually recording sound. 

So I’ve decided to switch areas entirely and do a sketchbook post.  It’s always been one of my favorite things, looking into people’s notebooks and sketchbooks, seeing what catches their eye, and how they express it when they’ve only got a few moments to draw. 

Here’s a few from my favorites…

Andrew Carnegie - wax pencil

I used to work in an antique postage stamp shop.  Sometimes an interesting face would appear on a stamp or first day cover.  I’d grab something to draw with and make a sketch.  The wax pencils were particularly fun.  Hopefully this won’t get me in trouble.

Do you like how I spelled his name “Cargenie” next to his head?

You Understand Me - pen

Scribble sketches are so much fun.  Using only lines, the shape and mass of an object are defined.  This sketch is at the end of a journal entry in which I was expressing how misunderstood and trampled I felt.  Everyone has days like that.  My Faithful Friend is the one with His arm around me in the picture. 

Anatomically perfect?  No.  Emotionally present?  Yep.

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak - pencil

I never gave two hoots (or tweets) about birds when I was younger.  For some reason, their songs, their coloring, and their habits have become more and more interesting as I’ve grown.  This bird, however, will always keep the name I had for it when I was younger: The Rose-Breasted GROSS BEAK!!!

If eyes were made for seeing, then beauty is its own excuse for being.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson