New Wood Slice Ornaments

Hello!  After cutting and drying the bounty of branches in our back yard for the last several months, I have been having a lot of fun painting the resulting wood slices.  Having a basically unlimited number of tiny "canvases" at my disposal has really allowed me the freedom and permission to just pick up a brush and paint whatever design comes to mind.  Since they are so small, it's been easy to do a few in a single sitting, as I have time.

Here are a few of the most recent I've posted for sale in the shop:

Heart Wood Slice Ornament – nordic-inspired, in red, white, and light blue.


Ghost with Spider Wood Slice Ornament – a friendly little ghost with a dangling spider, against a pumpkin-orange background.


Hello Wood Slice Ornament – "hello" has been one of my more popular signs, here it is in an ornament, in a coral, aqua, and cream color palette.


Purple Halloween Monster Wood Slice Ornament – inspired by the purple people eater! 🙂

I have a whole stack of these next to me still ready to go, I'll share as soon as I get them online.  All the designs are free-hand, right out of my head, so they are one-of-a-kind!  Let me know if you have any special requests, I love to hear your creative ideas. 🙂

Hand-Painted Mini Sign Blocks

Just in time for the weekend, I’ve posted some new items for sale on my Etsy store, Our Backyard Studio!  Hopefully I have all my i’s dotted and my t’s crossed.  Although I have been selling online for many years, this is my first Etsy site and anything new is super-scary.

Here’s a preview of a few things I’ve put online so far.  I have probably 50 more things to get up there, so I’ll have some work to do over the weekend! 🙂


Storms Don’t Last Forever hand-painted small sign block @ Our Backyard Studio


You Are Stronger Than You Think hand-painted wood sign @ Our Backyard Studio


You Are My Lucky Charm hand-painted decorative plate @ Our Backyard Studios


Surf Life’s Rough Waves hand painted shelf sitter sign @ Our Backyard Studio


What A Wonderful Word, Hello (Crazy People movie quote) shelf sitter plaque @ Our Backyard Studio


Happy Easter Pink Decorative Plate with Grey Bunny @ Our Backyard Studios

Thanks for visiting, have a great weekend! 🙂

Child’s Play


(She is ready to paint!)

One thing I learned in the last couple months is that my girl loves to paint.  I try not to push art on my children – it is more that I encourage creative thinking, and try to provide as many supplies as possible for them to experiment with.  While our boy has been creating for a while (he's almost 8), I only introduced our girl to the wonders of paint this winter (she's 3).  She LOVES it.  Like, far more than I expected.  Apparently she's been watching me for a bit, because I saw her doing things in her first painting session that I always do.  


(I always let The Girl choose her own color palette)

I haven't really taught either child to do anything technical or specific so far, I've mostly just provided the materials, helped prevent permanent staining on clothing or furniture, and otherwise let them go to town.  The Boy leans more toward intricate, controlled, elaborate drawing.  The Girl, on the other hand, is clearly in to passionate, messy, all-over-the-canvas abstract art.  


(This is her art book)

It is fascinating to watch both of them – It has perhaps been my highest form of art education, watching the minds, hearts, and hands of my children as they create.  I have already shared some of this on facebook, I think I'll have to share more of this on my blog as soon as I can get some better photos…..


(This is what her paint palette always looks like after painting session – she usually uses up all the paint she is given)



Routine is great for toddlers.  But it is great for me too.  I have a certain list of things that I must do each day – whether it be 5 minutes or an hour, some time must be spent each day on these things.  I have learned this about myself.  If I devote some of my time an attention to this list of things every day, my life is just…better.  It is a simple list, the items sort of no-brainers.  Dishes.  Laundry.  Play with Ben.  Life is all about balance, and I'm still figuring out what all I need to be making time for.


Creative play is one of those things I have been sorely neglecting over the past several years.  Now that I have an impressionable little boy toddling around after me, copying what I do, I pay a lot more attention to what it is I do and don't do.  I have always wanted to encourage creativity in my children, whenever I had them.  My problem is that I often make things too complicated, so then I never do anything.


But I decided you don't have to spent a couple hours on a painting in order to be creative.  Maybe you doodle for 5 minutes in your journal.  Maybe you nap a photo of the perfect summer Poppy.  Maybe you bake a cake from scratch, or look differently at some mundane daily item and see something else in it.  That kind of thing I can do every day.


I loved school.  LOVED it.  You sit there and drink in new things, think about them, apply them, practice them.  But I loved getting assignments.  I wanted to see how far off track I could get while still working within the boundries of the assignment.  What could I come up with that no one else would?  It gave me direction, and I always came up with something.  When I graduated, that all went away, and I miss it.

Just for the fun of it, one day I asked my facebook friends to give me some words.  I didn't tell anyone what they were for, I just wanted some random words.  And they gave me some great ones!  It is my personal random word generator.  Now we see what I come up with.


I started with what I considered one of the most easy and fun words of all:  candy!  (Thanks Kara!).  I love LOVE candy.  I love to eat it, I love the wrapping, I love the colors.  I could spend days making art around candy (or just eating it).  But, all I really did was just sketch in my journal late one night after Ben had gone to bed.  Really I just need to exercise my left brain, not create dramatic frameable works of art. So I pulled out my mechanical pencil and my favorite little sparkle paints (very hard to photograph, by the way), and just played.


So then, I'd have to say I'm happy with what I did.  It was fun!  And really, that is kind of the point…

Sneak Peek!

A sneak preview of a few things to come…


…Handmade by us at The Weed Patch!


…Glass glitter, hand cut Halloween shapes, wire-wrapped hanging hooks…


…stars, bats, boxes, candlesticks, haunted houses, and tons more!


Soon to be released at The Weed Patch, and the online Weed Patch store!


C is for Crafts


Crafting is simply the best way to enjoy the holiday season – well, besides cooking, baking, singing carols, visiting friends and family, decorating the tree, and gift-giving, of course.  I enjoy a wide variety of arts and crafts, and they tend to follow the seasons – Spring is watercolors, Summer is oils, Fall is collage and crochet, but Christmas is all about crafting.  Out comes the felt, buttons, paper, scissors, bells, beads, glues, glitter, pipe cleaners, fat quarters, googly eyes, and more.  I could just sit and start at all the fun goodies waiting to be turned into something wonderful, and sometimes I do.  A sort of tradition my friends Beth, Holly, and I started is having a tea and crafting afternoon together – we drink tea, eat goodies, and talk, all while working on some sort of Christmas crafting project.  One year I made cards, another year I knitted a scarf for my mom.  I have some ideas about what I might do this year, but then again I’ve never been lacking ideas.  My problem has always been which one to choose!


I love to make gifts.  I love to receive handmade gifts.  On Sunday, I received my Christmas gift from Holly rather early.  I haven’t taken a photo yet, though, happily, Holly has, so I stole it from her blog to show you here.  Not only has she blessed me with a handmade gift of my very first Advent calendar ever, she did indeed fill each one of those handsewn little white felt envelopes with a small gift, one for each day.  The first gift was this book.


It is just the kind of thing I had been looking for to read together with my family during December – it is full of stories, devotional readings, scripture passages and prayers.  The second gift was an adorable little pair of socks for Ben.  We haven’t opened today’s gift yet.  Words simply cannot express how much I love this gift.  Leave it to Holly to know exactly the kind of thing I want, without even asking me, and then make it herself.  I’m just blown away.

By the way, Holly wrote a lovely blog entry about Advent the other day – she has this wonderful talent of taking the big pile of words swimming around in my own head like a school of a billon tiny fish in the ocean, and expressing it perfectly and eloquently and sensibly.  Without all the wild hand gestures and the "you know what I mean?"  Thus I am also so excited to see that she has started a second blog devoted entirely to spending a year in the church calendar.  Having grown up in a baptist church, I hadn’t heard much about the church calendar (that I can recall), such as Lent, until I went to college.  I find I really love the focused, scheduled times of celebration and introspection, so I plan to follow this blog quite closely throughout the year.  If you’d like to join in, visit the blog here.

But anyway, I digress…

C is for Crafting.  Crafting is one of the most coziest things ever, and I’m all about the coziness in winter, especially for Christmas.  What are your favorite Christmas crafts?  Do you have ones you like to do with your kids?  There is a myriad of ideas out there – some related to Christmas themes, and others more general for an anytime gift.  Here are a few tutorials from some of the blogs I love to read: 

Felt Elf Clogs
Travel Tissue Holder
Super Easy Keychain
Festive Felt Penguins
Embroidered Felt Ornaments

I’ll be listing a craft tutorial myself, but I’ll do it on a separate post, because I can’t seem to stop typing and this post is getting really loooooong.

More crafty inspiration (but again, not from me)


I'm capitalizing on my friend's blog today, partly because I'm running out the door and don't have any photos of things handy, but mostly because I just LOVE the crafty things she's posted today. Like me, she has one child, but hers is running around, can get into things, and I imagine takes more time to look after than it does for me with Ben. Nevertheless, she has several crafty artsy projects she has finished and is working on. I'm encouraged. I'm also inspired to sew. Again.

Anyway, check it out!