Tag Archives: painting

Two years later

It was two years and a few days ago that I started 100 Days. I feel this impulse to say something smarmy about being on a great big journey with twists and turns and ups and downs, etc. but isn’t that just life? Some things change, some things stay the same.

Hi, it’s me. I’m Mobile now.

Let’s talk about the changes. My boy started kindergarten! The kid in the Robin costume with the bag on his head is a school boy! Milo was so proud of himself when we all rode bikes to his first day of school. I snuck a peek in his classroom the other day and he was polishing silver (I really do ❤ Montessori). I’m glad this is a skill he’s developing as I have so much silver on hand.

Milo’s first day of kindergarten.

Anyways, Wyatt has developed into a whole person of his own who is happy as a clam and any time he is not he has taken to calling us all meany heads. I’m sure we are total meany heads and deserve to be called such. Jon is doing  his masonry/full-time college student/Dad thing and being awesome at it.

Happy Juice

And me, I’ve been good. When that Dentist told me to chill last spring, I took her advice. I spent the summer wrapped in the warm embrace of my children (when I wasn’t prying them apart or trying to keep them from screaming, of course.)  Now I’m back at work actually doing a job that I really love. Teaching art to little people and helping to develop some Project Based Learning in the classrooms. It is my job to make sure that our students are thinking, being creative, and solving problems, so cool. The point is that I stopped trying to be something bigger than who I already am and it felt pretty nice. I gave myself permission to just be.

Some great arty things came my way and I managed to pull of some really awesome swaps (more about the art stuff in my next post). Art making is part of who I already am and because of that I’ve decided to give myself a renewal challenge. I will paint 32 paintings in 32 days to commemorate my birthday and the 100 Days project. I will blog every other day or so and we’ll see how things unfold.

Day One, getting the rust out.

Day 1, I had this impulse to pull tight into the composition and gradually release the form and color like conception or birth or growth. It feels good to be back fully in my skin and ready to work. As always, if you see or read something you like or want to comment on, please do.




Snack time is the best time

It was just a matter of time until I started posting recipes. I’m a big fan of cooking and baking especially. It just makes me happy and snacking on the results isn’t too shabby.  I’ve included a few good everyday recipes that are now in heavy rotation around here and a few random pics from our days here in the Fessler  household. Please enjoy…

Apple pancake

Apple pancake (cut and pasted from Sunset.com):

Yield: Serves 6 (or one, depending on who you ask)


  • 3  tablespoons  butter
  • 1/4  cup  packed light brown sugar
  • 1/8  teaspoon  cinnamon
  • 1  sweet apple such as Fuji, peeled and sliced
  • 3  large eggs
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  cup  flour
  • 1/2  cup  milk
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
  • 1  tablespoon  powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Melt butter in a 12-in. ovenproof frying pan over high heat. Add brown sugar and cinnamon, swirling to combine. Add apple and cook until just starting to soften, about 3 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a blender, whirl together eggs, salt, flour, and milk. Pour egg mixture into pan and bake until puffed and brown, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice and powdered sugar.

Granola bars

Granola Bars

I’ve been really examining how we spend our money and found that we spent over $30/month on granola bars. Aside from the silly expense,there’s alot of packaging and sugar involved. So a few months ago I started playing around and making our own. This is a super basic recipe and can be changed in a whole bunch of ways and still turn out super tasty, chewy granola bars.

  • 3 cups quick rolled oats
  • 1 cup granola
  • 2/3 cup nuts/seeds/coconut/etc.
  • 2/3 cup mini chocolate or yogurt chips
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ½ c peanut butter
  • ½ c apple sauce
  • ½ c honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

I like pumpkin flax granola for these


  • Mix all ingredients together with your hands.
  • Spread onto a greased 9×13 pan wet hands and pat down (hard!).
  • Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
  • Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting into bars.

Yield: 32 bars

I think he likes them

Fruit Leather:

Next up is fruit leather. Wyatt really likes this one. Fruit leather can be made from just about any fruit you can mash or puree. Here’s my method for banana/mango:

Mash or puree 2 cups of mango and banana in fairly equal amounts

Prepare a pan with a thin layer of oil, a sheet of foil or parchment ( I used plastic wrap…bad idea)

Spread mixture about 1/4 to 1/8 thick (leave 1-2 inches around the edge of the blob)

Bake at 275 for 30-35 minutes. Turn off the oven, leave the door closed and let dry over night

Dino obsession

Snow Day Craft:

Draw a giant dinosaur and let Papa and child paint their hearts out.

She's got skills and she's adorable

I also wanted to give a shout out to a guest artist who visited the studio the other day, Miss Lydia is a very talented three year old with sweet knit overalls!

baby's breath

Lastly, a small bit of a little something I made for a very special gal and her babe.

Homemaking and chilly weather go so well together (not that I wouldn’t go for a few days on the 70s) oh, and putting things in old jars is a time honored tradition in our house…just thought I’d share that too.

Jars make things feel special

“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?!

Beer, a hotdog, chocolate chip cookies, and one downward-facing dog


Sweet relief

My little hot dog

Milo, Day thirty-eight

Day thirty-seven

Milo, day thirty-seven. Dad with a beard.

Day thirty-eight

Day thirty-nine

Milo, Day thirty-eight. Does this picture have a body?

arggg, he's drivin' me nuts!

I spent the better part of the day fighting to have a little time to myself to do some yoga and do this post. Best laid plans…Wyatt was super grumpy all day until about 3 o’clock when I decided to dress him up like a hot dog. He promptly fell asleep and has been asleep for over an hour (I wonder what Baby Wise says about hot dog swaddling and sleep training). Earlier in the day I had tried to go to the basement  for a little  yoga session but all I could hear above my head was a fussy baby and a toddler running and screaming about not needing to use the potty,  not very relaxing. So I went another route and while the hot dog was sleeping, I baked some cookies and drank a beer. I feel much better, thank you.

I’ve decided to dedicate the rest of today’s post to all the funny, weird and smart stuff Milo has said to me in the past 48 hours. Kids say the darndest things. So sit back, crack a beer, have a cookie and enjoy.

Stay close. There might be beavers and beavers are very wild animals.

This is a silly drawing of Nanny with a mustache.

Mom, you are small but not too small you are also kind of big and that’s ok.

I’m not in the mood.

I’m full of it.

This is my art and it is special.

I think it’s goooood to have a baby.

This is a strawberry with long legs.

Mom! I barfed…in my bed.

You have eggs in your tummy like a crocodile.

Do people have meat? Yes? Does that mean that crocodiles, lions and sharks will want to eat me?

Me- “why do you like to make art?” Milo- “ …because I’m an artist, and artists make art.”

It’s ok that my Spider Man shirt is dirty, I will just wear another shirt under it.

I really love to open the fish food and just smell it.

Little Wyatt likes it when I pull on his leg.

I don’t believe you that  Andre the Giant was a nice giant, he looks sneaky.

Milo to Wyatt, “Please don’t do that. If you do that again I’ll need an eye patch!”

Milo to Wyatt, “If you do that again, I’ll take away one of your toys.” (wonder where he go that one?)

I need to do a lot of exercise.

You can’t see me today. I’m camouflage!

I’m kicking you. That’s boundaries ,ok, I’ll stop.

I don’t care for the taste of beer.

Can we call Mr. Sun, we haven’t talked to him in a while. (I once duped Milo into talking to my friend Aaron on the phone, thinking  that Aaron was Mr. Sun. Aaron was instructed to tell Milo to sleep until after the sun comes up. After we got off the phone Milo wanted to know how the sun holds a cell phone and if he had pockets to keep his cell phone in.)

Alright! Let’s see that catch (ugg, football season.)

How can I help?

I was born 5/6 ago.

When I was born. Daddy said, “Its ok you’re born now.”

Hang in there, baby, Friday’s com’in

Hanging in there, thank you.

"Mom! Can you help me carry all theses stones?"

Day twenty-six

Day twenty-seven

Day 28, Milo...Just what I always wanted!

Maybe if I get one of those, “hang in there” kitten posters for my studio I would feel better. Or, maybe this baby orangutan crotch shot one.  Yikes, I am so grumpy. Didn’t really think it was possible to be this cranky. I almost punched Jon’s punching door and that is just not like me. Kids! They are always needing things like food and diaper changes and help finding their watches and tiny scraps of paper that you recycled because you had no idea of their immense importance, sheesh! Can’t they take care of themselves? Who do they think I am? Their mom?! Oh, right, I am their mom and they’ll need me until the day that I die (hopefully).

I assessed the situation and realized that I am feeling overwhelmed by the demands of well, I guess, just today. How do I let go? I’m a big list maker. I like strategic planning. What’s going on now, what do you want things to look like, and what steps are you going to take to get there. If I just write down what needs to be done, I magically feel a little less overwhelmed if I can see what needs to be done. Magically things are manageable. Milo gave me a notebook this morning and told me I could write some things down if I needed to. He knows me so well.

Most days don’t feel so stressed but today was really sucking until I slowed my roll, snuggled the kids, made a fort, ate a cookie (ok, five cookies), and decided to make a list.

  • Make a painting
  • Take a shower
  • Update blog
  • Order Jon’s birthday present
  • Take Milo to swim class
  • Send the estimates
  • Clean the house
  • Pump the milk
  • Feed the kids
  • Do the laundry
  • Eat something healthy
  • Do some crunches
  • Return calls
  • Get baby to nap
  • Go to art supply store
  • Finish website
  • Feed the dog
  • Drink more coffee
  • Check email

Mind you I am solving none of life’s ills. It’s not rocket science and I am doing no real good for humanity.  It’s all just my stay at home mommy stuff. If I were teaching, this list would twice as long. Why do I let all this mundane, totally doable stuff make me feel so crazed?  It’s too easy to get caught up in the moment and make it all seem bigger and heavier than it needs to be. Sat-nam. Let go.

So I obviously have for too many important things going on to say much else. I’ll just have to hang in there until Friday like an orangutan with my junk out or an adorable kitten, you choose your mental image. Then, imagine yourself looking at my website for a virtual first Friday event, this Friday, October 1st. Tell your friends and tell them to tell their friends. The first 30 days of my project will be online and available for purchase.

Mondays are for perfection

I pledge to be perfect for at least fifteen minutes.

Day nineteen

Day nineteen, Milo

Day twenty

"It's a boot for you Mom, you like it when I give you boots."

I see Mondays as a weekly opportunity to be perfect. Mondays are the day that we get up and get dressed right away. I put make up on and maybe even some jewelry. We eat a healthy breakfast and turn the tv off. I resolve myself not to bribe Milo and to have Wyatt on some sort of eat/sleep schedule.  The house will be clean, laundry will be started (probably not finished) bills will be paid, and phone calls will be made.

I’ve accomplished a lot on my perfect Monday. And now it is 10:30 and Wyatt only napped of 45 minutes. Milo is watching Spyler and eating chocolate peanut butter toast (at least its whole wheat) and I am watching Tori and Dean in Love on Oxygen while pacing around the living room trying to get Wyatt back to sleep.  So much for perfection! We did have a few pristine moments this morning with the music on and us working in the studio. Milo drew some pictures for his buddy Ethan in Pennsylvania and one for his Nanny and I’ve been playing with making marks with  leaves off my broccoli plant.

I’ve noticed that most kids want to give away their artwork as soon as they finish it. I have files and files of pictures my students have given me over the years. “This is for you, Ms. H!” (Insert my name scrawled across the top with gross spelling errors). It must part of the process to assign an owner to a work of art. Kids usually make the work or as they are creating it, they figure out whom it would suit best. I have a similar response to my work and have given away far more than I’ve sold. I make a painting and I immediately think of someone it would suit. I love to give paintings as gifts as most of my friends and family can attest to. (BTW, you have my permission to take down anything I’ve made for you or given you that you don’t like/are sick of….I promise my feelings won’t be hurt.) Oh, and Zarah, please tell me that you still don’t hang up that painting I made in high school! If I want to make a living as an artist I have to start putting monetary value on my time, creativity and effort.  From now on folks you’re gonna have to pay up. Except you beautiful newlyweds and soon to be newlyweds, you get something for nothing because we love you!

Darn it! I can’t even make this post perfect. I went on a tangent. Good thing there’s always another Monday and another chance to be perfect at everything. Maybe I should go for perfect Tuesdays too. Perfect Tuesdays could be even more perfect than perfect Mondays. We could keep it together until 11:00 heck maybe even noon!

I got a lot of problems with you people…

My baby can't read

Day eighteen

mmmmm, soup.

My inspiration

Day nineteen

Yeah for exquisist corpse art books! Yeah for Jessica!

Day 19-Milo

Day nineteen- Milo's installation in the yard

breast milk

Does this say, I'm a responsible mom?

I really tried to get a theme going for the past two days but it mostly consisted of complaining about everyone being snotty, sick and whiny so I’ve decided to make a list of the most profound things I’ve pondered in the past few days. Here we go….

1. You know you have a toddler when you find a cape and toy handcuffs in your bed, or you are a bit adventurous in the sack (we would fall into the former category).

2. I spent way too much time watching infomercials at 5:50 this morning and beating myself up that my baby can’t read.

2. Sautéing onions while the baby is strapped to your chest is not something that the baby likes.

3. Vegan potato soup tastes better when you add bacon (Sorry Jessica I. and Fanny).

3. I liked it when Milo brought a few fall leaves in to give me as inspiration. I did not like it when he climbed to the top of the fence to, “stabilize the building.”

4. Cat Steven’s music is awesome and should be listened to on a far more consistent basis, especially when painting.

5. Jessica Brown-Velez is a fantastic person. If you don’t know her, you should. Shnarf. She is a really good gift giver and that is a special friend talent.

6. I have recently become aware that I have misused the word ephemera for years. I am sorry Mr. Joseph Cornell, you are my most favorite artist! Upcoming post: Milo and ephemera (things designed to be used for a short time).

7. I am incredibly uncomfortable when I see people argue in public.

8. I think Milo would make a great installation artist. He could make fantastic rooms filled to the rafters with all of the pens, notebooks, and tools he’s squirreled away in the past two years.

9. I am ready for summer to be over! I would like to wear sweaters and boots, make soup, sip tea, and go to bed at 8:30 to read books. Go away hot weather!

10. I wonder if my manic postpartum hormonal mood swings are having a positive effect on my work like a Van Gogh mental illness or Basquiat’s drug addiction.  Hopefully I won’t cut off my ear.

11. Not sleeping sucks. I would like to be whisked away to fancy hotel where no one insists on rubbing my eyebrows half the night.

12. Maybe storing my breast milk next to the vodka sends the wrong message.

13. Lastly, have you seen Alyson Kahn’s new work? She’s rad! (Milo asked me the other day if he could call something rad. I said, heck yeah, and told him he should also use the word, stoked.) Yeah for other artist mommas.

Damn photos…keep scrolling people!