Tag Archives: art blog

It’s on Like Donkey Kong

You missed us, didn't you?

Nervous hands typing….

Dear diary,

It’s been a long time since my last entry.  Nothing much has been happening around here except perfecting awkward family photos and eating large quantities of food. I think we all needed a break from school and setting goals and achieving them (except I’m now a week into P90x and no, I will not be posting before pictures). Jon’s back to school today and it seems fitting to start up again. I will still be posting all about being a momma, doing what you love, and living a creative life. The new name? I think we’ll go with Drawing a Blank, Creative Living and Parenting.

Paintings are bigger in 2011

I wanted my first post project post to be full of wit and charm and excitement but I’m feeling a little gun shy.  I’m still working on the same piece I started on the first of the year and I haven’t gotten new images shot or my press packets together.  I’m just not working at the same brisk pace as when the project was looming large. I think I will start to declare arbitrary deadlines here to make myself accountable to my interweblog readers. My first arbitrary deadline will be to get my gallery submission packets together by Sunday and have them shipped to at least 5 galleries by Monday…I already feel more in control and motivated, thanks blogosphere.

Ok enough backpedaling, I’ve been snuggling with everyday life and that’s not a bad thing. My kids and my man are being lavished with attention and baked goods (got my first cavity yesterday, goodbye sugary treats, I’ll miss you terribly).

I have however, made some really awesome trades, here’s the run down:

Traded for:

Sweet day of the week hand towels and kid napkins from my very talented aunt Kathy

A kids bike trailer

A pair of See Kia Run shoes for Milo and a hand sewn cape and cuffs set

5 bottles of really good vino

2 lbs of coffee every two weeks from Batdorf and Bronson (soooo good)

Morning, perfected.

Hand thrown mugs with which to drink the delicious coffee by Tony Deland (he’ll do custom orders if you ask him nicely)

A massage for my dear mum (Katherine Nelson is amazing if you are in the Denver area)

Paintings by Alyson Kahn

The talented Mrs. Kahn

A logo for Fessler Masonry from  Lauren Carbon at Slice.

If we’re still working on a trade or a purchase, message me and let’s get it together!

P.S. After spotting Jon’s Thundercats comic, Milo has become desperate to get his hands on any  figurines, will trade art, left arm, etc…


She’s crafty, she gets around (in a huge SUV).

After reading Miss Wrangler’s post on making a sweet soaker this morning, I go to thinking about getting crafty. I’m one of those chicks with a failed Etsy, bins and bins of fabric, drawers of yarn, needles, paint, thread, tools, felt, and all other stuff that might one day become something sweet. In the fall and winter months I just want to cozy up, bake some muffins (which did not turn out well at all) and get to making something.

Apple oat yuck muffins

Milo, Day seventy-seven

I’ve decided this year to make sets of cloth napkins out of reclaimed fabric as holiday gifts (now you all know what you’re getting). Thinking that now would be the time to learn how to use the serger my grandma got for my mom a few years back, I asked my mom to bring it over.  After dinner last night, we went out to the car to retrieve the serger…um, yeah.

So many parts...

These are the directions.

I am reading Radical Homemakers right now and in one part of the book, the author says that we have lost the ability or the belief that we can teach ourselves things. I think I agree. It’s easier to buy something than it is to make it or to fix it yourself. We just had to buy a new fridge after only five years because they manufacture them so they will not last and if they do break, the repair costs are equal to just buying a whole new fridge.

Day seventy-six

Day seventy-seven

This is just part and parcel of all sorts of consumer guilt I’ve been having these days…I buy beans in cans, I buy frozen sweet potato fries, I shop the clearance rack a Target, I buy baby wipes instead of making them myself, I only cloth diaper at home and I put them in the dryer, I drive a giant SUV, I have a DVR, I lather, rinse and repeat. I am hopeless. In my wildest dreams, I am living off only the goods and foods I can grow and barter for. I am sewing my children’s clothes from flour sacks. I ride my trike with one kid in the Ibert and one kid in the trailer laden with fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s market. Too much? Ok, maybe I just take a little bit more time to use a little bit less and be a little bit more useful.

The art teacher forgot that when you mix all the colors, you get brown, sparkly brown.

I am still super intimidated by this machine. I’m a pretty quick study for the most part and I am determined to figure this thing out (with the possibility of a few phone calls to Aunt Kathy, the sewing machine queen). Hopefully, neither our crayon recycling project yesterday, nor my failed muffins this morning will be an indicator of future crafting success.

Dear Jon,

The show at Slice. Check it out and support local, small business!

We found our old camcorder this weekend and watched home movies from our wedding reception and when Milo was a baby. We stood there watching all of these moments of our life together getting all choked up. The fact is that Jon and I are giant, sentimental dorks. We say dorky things and look pretty dorky most of the time. But in the majority of the videos we’re laughing and that cannot be a bad thing.

Milo's first sale!

Being married to your best friends has its perks. There is someone there to tell you you have buggies or that knows never to leave dirty socks in the living room, someone who will say nice things to you on demand (although he might get sick of you constantly asking for sweetsies),someone who will be honest about your work, someone who will laugh at your really bad jokes and someone who will always be there to let you sniff their beard. But marriage ain’t always the easiest thing. Living your life tethered to someone can be the most comforting thing in the world and the most constraining. Sometimes you feel so close that you’re one person and other times you’re worlds apart, and that’s ok as long as you know that a life well lived is a life lived with your partner.

Thanks, shnarf. xoxo

Milo-"Mom, this is you when you were a little girl with glasses."

But that Jon Fessler, I’ve loved that man ever since I walked into the house on 13th st. Five years after I had first met him and he stood up when I came through the door and said, “Hi, I’m Jon.” in a super awkward way. We went to see Hot Water Music and he stayed in the under 21 section to keep me company. The next night he grabbed my elbow and asked me on a date. On our first date we drank a pitcher of PBR and ate bread sticks. The next day he brought a grocery bag full of daisies into the coffee shop where I worked and I was totally gaga. Before he headed to Alaska for the summer, he gave me his Super Friends pillow case and plastic mug with a smiley face and feet to remember him by. We spent the following summer totally in LOVE, exchanging letters and packages while Jon lived in a tent inside of a tent down by a river. You’ve never heard a more romantic love story, have you?

Love LOVE young love

Almost ten years have gone by. We’ve built a home and a family complete with a rottweiler and a shed made out of shipping pallets. He’s still my best friend and he still sometimes makes me crazy. We had a family weekend this weekend; bacon egg and cheese biscuits for dinner, checking on the art and picking up Milo’s first check, donuts and beer, bad tv (after Milo went to bed) and lots of chit chat with conversations that start with, “you know what would be awesome…” and planning our future in a million and one directions. All while drinking tea and snuggling our kids.

It can be really hard to remember that people don’t know what you need until you tell them. Men are from Mars women are from Venus…But, the weather is cool and the house is warm and we’re staying in. Love you Papa bear.

Day seventy-two

Day seventy-one

PS We’ve made some great trades so far, keep ’em coming!

Inspiring the Fesslers towards happiness

Inspiring aren't I?

When I was I college I took an advanced ceramics class. One day in class we watched a video on some ceramicist (I can’t remember his name) who talked at length about what makes a really great ceramic drinking vessel. We had to examine our concept of a just-right vessel. Does it hold the right amount of liquid? Does it feel right in your hand? Is it weighted properly? How does it feel when you hold it to your mouth? Does it keep your coffee or tea or whatever the right temperature for the right amount of time? What is the glaze like? Does the shape appeal to you visually? All of these things suddenly mattered. A mug. I have a few perfect vessels. One for tea, one for coffee. My tea mug was made by a mentor teacher and I formulated the hideous glaze. The mug feels light but substantial, it keeps my tea warm for a long time, the lip of the mug is not too fat and not too thin, I feel at ease when I have this mug in my hand. My coffee mug is a standard issue diner style coffee mug that we got on our honeymoon from the bed and breakfast Jon used to work at in Alaska.

Day 57

Day fifty-seven

Day fifty-eight

Day fifty-nine




Finding the perfect mug is like finding home. You know it when it’s right. I have been thinking a lot about the concept of domesticity and the idea of having a home, not just living in a house and having stuff rather, having a space where your life happens. Home is the center of our existence and for Jon and I it always has been. I think that’s why we’re so good together. We both know that our home is not just a place but a life being lived. It is where we make or choices that will trickle out to the rest of the world and create some sort of change.

Milo, Day 57. "This is a window and me and Uncle Tony looking out."

Milo, Day 58. "This is a silly mountain."

Milo, Day 59. "Shh, he is sleeping and he has buggars."

Now that Milo is getting older and Wyatt is here, home is even more valuable. I could not even begin to put a dollar amount on the time I spend making home. Being the stay at home parent this year has gotten me thinking about how we address home life. It is so easy for women and men to get into the “house wife syndrome” of being completely unfulfilled by domestic and childcare responsibilities. Since the industrial revolution domestic life has become centered on consuming things rather than creating them. I fell so easily into the emptiness of going to Target, buying things and consuming them. By the end of the summer I was downright sad. I felt empty and guilty for feeling so empty. I knew that I didn’t need something outside of the home. I needed a new perspective; I need to feed my home and my life with some creativity. Ever since I started this project I am not sad every day. I don’t feel so  empty and I no longer feel like I’m watching my life happen to me while I drink coffee from a mug that doesn’t feel right.

A very serious post for a Halloween weekend. Sorry folks, let’s lighten things up with a few good Halloween photos…In 3rd grade I was Tammy Fae Baker (my mom has a wicked sense of humor), this year Milo went as a Rescue Hero (or a member of the Village People). He won win 3rd place at the coffee shop costume contest and we didn’t spend a dime on his costume!

P.S. Check out our pictures from the I Am photo shoot

Tammy Fae Baker

Rescue Hero Milo

Hula hooping leads to job offers


Get your nerd on

World's smallest sundae




When I was in college they opened an Ed Debevic’s here in Denver. For those of you who have never been to one, it’s a 50’s theme diner where all the wait staff is surly and rude and everyone is in costume and covered in flair. I was so excited. It was a childhood dream of mine to work there and serve the world’s smallest sundae. I went to the auditions and go the job based on my extraordinary hula hooping skills. That job was so damn fun. I had two personae, a nerd and a house wife ( a real stretch for me) complete with wigs and vintage circle skirts, and no less than 15 pieces of flare (you can give the screen the finger now). I even got to DJ a Motown night on Fridays. Every so often, we would have to hop up on the counter to dance. Proud Mary just came on and I can remember every step.


Day fifty-two

Day fifty-three

Milo, Day fifty-three, Lily Pad

Milo, day fifty-four

Typically, I’m not really a very spontaneous person. I like to know where I’m going, how long it will take to get there, what time we’re supposed to arrive and how long we’ll be. Fun right? All of my recent perfection posts have led me to this one. Now that my house is clean and in order, I have more time for spontaneity .This on e is about saying F-it and doing what you want.

day fifty-four

Day fifty-five

I want to be a working artist. I want my work in galleries and I want people I’ve never met to look at my work and want to buy it. So how do I make that happen? Sadly, my current approach of sitting on my couch hoping that somehow my phone will magically ring and it will be the Guggenheim on the other end has not worked out so well. Guess I’ll have to pull myself up by my bootstraps. I’ve finally realized that nothing will happen to me if I don’t get gallery representation or if I get rejected. Life is pretty darn good, I’m happy with my work and I’m willing to put in the leg work to convince strangers to believe in my art. I don’t think I’ve ever had this feeling before.  Something about being a mom, I think. I’m down to fail and I’m down to succeed. I’m just not down to sit around and wish I had tried.  I wouldn’t want my kids to have regrets, why should I?

I do all my correspondence with this elegant cobra pen

Hot toddy, check. Banana bread and orange, check. Poorly organized checklist, check.

Milo, Day fifty-five, Our House

I called a bunch of galleries and figured out the submission process for a bunch more. Now for the tedious task of finishing my artist’s statement and sexing up the ole’ resume. My prestigious showing history of one coffee shop/restaurant/bar show per year for the past seven years should really entice those collectors. We’ve all got to start somewhere.  I’m taking it up a notch, time to hula hoop for my life.  I can also roller skate, I wonder if that’ll come in handy?

FYI readers:

From now on I will be posting on Wednesday and Saturdays.

Virtual First Friday on Nov. 5th (free shipping if you pre-order anything from days 31-60! Just message me)!

“Ms. Holton,you have the hands of a man, I never noticed that about you.”

Martha would be so proud


Being perfect is exhausting! Since my last post I’ve tried to improve my domestic capabilities and I’ve cleaned the $%#* out of my house (Milo washed the baseboards and Jon vacuumed, of course). My hands are all cracked and gnarled, which is actually pretty typical. I was once told by a student that I have the hands of a man but, I digress. Domestic perfection has left me feeling partially brain dead from bleach fumes, tired and not very creative. In the same breath I will say that I like when the house is spic and span and I like when I can find the bills that need to be paid. I even kept up on the laundry, made this beautiful fall display, and used my aging bananas to make a healthy whole grain banana bread with walnuts and raisins.

Day forty-nine

day fifty, woot!

When I was a kid, nothing would make me writhe on the floor dry heaving in disgust more than the smell of banana bread cooking in the oven. My mom was shocked today when I told her what I was baking. It actually took my fantastically gay 50 something neighbor to bake the most delicious banana bread and share it with us while we were walking by his garden this spring to break me of my childhood disdain for all things banana related.  I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Wednesday was the halfway point. I have now painted everyday for 52 days. I did a little happy dance and thought about getting some over the hill decorations and baking cupcakes with black frosting but that wasn’t in the Your Home and You book so I just went about my business of trying to be perfect. I am happy to say that painting has once again become a habit in my life. Even when I’m beat and think I would rather be watching Dog the Bounty Hunter, it still feels so good when I’m done. I actually like my work.

Milo, Day 51. "It's a bed with a big tent. It's really comfortable."

Milo's art caddy. Don't go to swim lessons, the park or the grocery store without it.

As for Milo, he’s probably drawing at least two hours a day and he’s drawing people and beds and tents and all sorts of things that now look like things. I love seeing how he’s grown in just the past two months. With kids, growth is so much more apparent than in adults. He says that making art makes him feel calm, I’ll second that. So stay tuned for the final 48 days of our project. I can’t promise perfection but I can promise you some damn fine looking work from a three year old and maybe a few more pics of things I bake while avoiding other less desirable tasks.

Day fifty-one

Dry erase, scheduled, organized, perfection...where did I put the dry erase markers?!

Wally and the Beav

Circa 1960

Day forty-six

Milo, day 49, Mommy and Little Wyatt

Day forty-seven

Like looking in a mirror

Milo, Day 49, an alien with sunglasses

day forty-nine

The actress who played June Clever died over the weekend and it got me thinking about domesticity. I love to say that word, domesticity. Anyways, a while back, my mom gave me her home economics text book from the 60’s. The first time I looked at it I was prepared to be offended over and over again but what it really was was a practical guide to being thrifty, clean, cooking nutritious meals, caring for one’s self, family and community. It was like a guide book for everyday life. There’s even sections on sewing buttons, canning fruit, managing your time and what colors to wear with what skin tone. We don’t teach our kids most of this stuff so well anymore. A quote from the first page, “Not only are your physical characteristics determined by your parents, but also many of your traits of character are acquired at home. A good home is built on love and kindness, forgiveness, unselfish giving, and sharing. In the family you learn to assume responsibility for your actions.” Well put Your Home and You Textbook from 1960.

I am pretty darn good at some domestic tasks; I can sew, I can cook, I can care for small children, I do however suck at laundry and keeping a really clean house. It’s not too bad but I have too many junk drawers and I’ve begun to notice that the doors are dirty. Who knew you have to clean doors?! I don’t look like June Clever did either. Most days I don’t get a shower, I am certainly not wearing a dress and pearls while vacuuming (let’s face it Jon usually does the vacuuming and he’s not wearing a dress and pearls either) and I’m not rushing to freshen my make up before Jon gets home from work expecting his slipper and paper. I live in a real house with too many art supplies, kids, a dog and a dusty husband who, get this, actually participates when he’s home. Milo’s even been into folding the laundry lately. Maybe he’ll take over and I’ll never have to match another sock!

Things are just plain not like Leave it to Beaver and probably weren’t even back then. My friend Jessica pointed out the other day that Valium use and teen pregnancy were at all time high in the 50’s.The glossy perfection of the 50’s has its appeal and because Tuesdays are now also for perfection, I’m more inclined to work myself up about my domestic shortcomings. I do however, like June, have a pretty sweet apron collection. I like my domestic world, it’s a good home and we try to be kind, forgiving, to share and to be responsible for our actions.