Saturday, August 30, 2008

Water Partners



Water Partners International is a nonprofit that works to provide safe drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries. This wonderful organization has opened my eyes to the struggle of gathering clean water that families across the world are facing. Water Partners has helped thousands of people develop accessible, and, most importantly, sustainable community water sources. I will never turn on a faucet again without thinking of the countless mothers in our world that cannot provide clean water for their children to drink and bathe in. I also count my own blessings, as I will never take our water resources for granted again. Last February, I took the studio to a Water Partners presentation and feel strongly about spreading the word to everyone. There is something each of us can do to help. I encourage you all to visit the Water Partners website to find out about the problems faced by so many men, women and children every day and what you can do to make a difference in their lives.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A California Visit

Last week I took a trip to California to meet with a company called Teacher Created Resources. They are located outside of Los Angeles in Westminster, CA. What a beautiful part of the country! Teacher Created is an educational publishing company that has created many products including banners, bookmarks, bulletin board art, expandable pocket files, notepads and stickers with our school themed designs. As the new school year is now getting started, it was a perfect time to meet and brainstorm about new classroom products and new design ideas. Click here to visit our online store, featuring many of our Teacher Created products.While in California, we also took time to visit our ar
tist friend Lowell Herraro and his wife Janet. Lowell is an amazing artist and they have a beautiful home that connects to his studio. His paintings are large with gorgeous rich colors, often depicting scenes of the vineyards and olive grove (Lowell and Janet produce their own olive oil!) that surround their home. We had a wonderful visit with them and enjoyed the chance to tour his home and studio.
Lastly, we visited a few vineyards around Napa Valley before returning home. I am definitely inspired to paint for our Lang Wine Country calendar, now! The rolling hills and inviting roads of the vineyards are absolutely gorgeous. It was a great trip all around; I hope to visit California again soon!


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Jim Shore’s New Furniture Line!


One of my friends and fellow artists, Jim Shore, recently had his grand opening for his new furniture and home d├ęcor line called At Home with Jim Shore. I had the privilege of attending his opening in Atlanta this summer for a sneak peak. The furniture is lovely with unique designs, clearly inspired by his quilt-like aesthetic. Even the cake at the party was shaped as a trunk with one of his distinctive Jim Shore designs! It was a wonderful opening, and I wish him much success as he enters the exciting world of furniture design!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sewcial Stitchers


Yesterday a group of women from Sewcial Stitchers, a quilting group, came to visit the studio. It was nice to meet them all and to get feedback from them on our current fabric designs produced by Benartex. They brought with them a beautiful quilt they designed from our Gypsy Song fabric line. It is always amazing for all of us at the studio to see our designs woven into the intricate patterns of a quilt. To find online stores that carry our fabric, Click here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Peaches!

All summer long we have enjoyed the most delicious peaches! Every couple of days, Mary Beth brings in a new basket full from the orchard she passes on her way to the studio. It has truly been a treat. Fresh peaches are one of the sweetest parts of the summer! We’ve enjoyed sharing them with our friends and families as well. It was great to take a sack of peaches to my aunt and uncle in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. After the wedding weekend, Jeannie sent her relatives home with some peaches, too. It’s always fun to share a “bite” of the North Carolina summer with everyone! Beckie has even made her superb peach cobbler for the studio to enjoy a couple of times. Here is her recipe:
Beckie’s Peach Cobbler:
1 deep baking dish (21/2 to 3 qt.)
31/2 c. sliced peaches, sweetened to taste
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Cup sifted flour
1 Cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 beaten egg
6 Tbsp. melted butter

Place peaches in deep dish. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Sift dry ingredients together. Add beaten egg. Mix until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over peaches. Pour melted butter on top. Bake at 375 for 35 to 45 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and cinnamon. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ana and Craig’s Wedding

Jeannie’s daughter Ana got married last week! Jeannie is one of my dearest friends and has painted with me at the studio for many years. I could not be happier for Ana and her new husband Craig. They were married on a very special day, 8/8/08, in a beautiful outdoor ceremony on Lake Montonia. Ana’s father built a wooden bridge overlooking the lake for them to stand on as they took their vows. The music was provided by acoustic guitarist Scoot Pittman. Jeannie painted this beautiful image of the bridge for her daughter. It was an intimate family ceremony on a beautiful summer day –with a surprise of fireworks across the lake after they were first announced as husband and wife. Best wishes in your new life together, Ana and Craig!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Back to School

As the end of August approaches, I wonder where this summer has gone! It has been a great summer, as I have enjoyed having all of my children at home. Thoughts now drift to schooldays as I have many friends and relatives preparing their classrooms for new students. Next week, our son Sam is returning to Appalachian State for his sophomore year. We will miss him dearly as he heads back to college but we are so proud of him and the man he has grown up to be. This year he is moving into an off-campus apartment with three friends. I pray that he will have another wonderful year, as he continues to grow and discover his place in the world.
Click Here to visit my updated family page on the website!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Training Camp for Erin

My daughter Erin returned from training camp for The World Race this week. It was a camp to meet her fellow participants and to simulate some of the conditions and challenges they will face during their eleven-month missions pilgrimage across the globe. I was so worried for her to go because she had her wisdom teeth out just a few days before leaving. But, she recovered beautifully and there was no way she was going to miss her week of training!
Her excitement and dedication to the World Race has become even more apparent since she returned from the camp last week in Georgia. Erin returned dirty and tired but full of spirit. They simulated living conditions where you must bathe using a hose and do without many comforts of home, like toilets. It was a difficult week physically and spiritually as they were charged with many challenging tasks and ideas. For my husband Al and me, hearing her recount her experience really confirmed for us that she has been called into this race. It is difficult to think she will be away from home for almost a year but God has truly comforted us over the past few weeks and we are so proud of Erin as she takes this leap of faith.
To visit Erin’s blog and read about her experience at training camp, click here!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Eric’s European Adventure


Beckie’s youngest son, Eric, just returned from Europe! He spent two weeks studying interior design at a university in Milan and then spent another 2 weeks traveling through the rest of Italy and Europe. Italy is such a beautiful country, with such a rich culture centered around fine arts and architecture – I couldn’t think of a more perfect place to study design! During his trip, Eric toured Rome, Florence and Venice. He also traveled to Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris. Today he came to the studio to share his photos with us. They were all so wonderful – I wish I was going back to Europe soon! One video he shared with us was from his trip to Venice. He went to the island of Murano and visited a glass blowing studio. The video he shot was of a man creating a small glass horse – it is such an intricate and beautiful process. I’m so glad that Eric had a wonderful experience. He is such a talented and creative designer, I know he learned a lot on this trip and will be able to use his many experiences to create designs for a lifetime!





Friday, August 8, 2008

Turning 88 on August 8th, 2008!




Today my Uncle Jim turns 88! It is his “magical” birthday as he turns 88 on 8/8/08. Last weekend we celebrated with him during our trip to Massachusetts with two cakes! Uncle Jim is a wonderful man and a phenomenal artist as well. I really enjoyed the time we spent together as he showed me his paintings and we talked about our love for art. He loves to paint beautiful scenes of nature, including horses! Hopefully he will agree to be a featured artist on the website soon.
Happy Birthday, Uncle Jim!

CLICK HERE> to visit our current featured artist page!


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Family Blessings




Our extended family has been blessed tremendously through our children. Both of my brothers have large families so we have always enjoyed sharing the joys and humors of our children as they have grown up. Family gatherings would not be the same without the joyful noises and constant activities of the young people around us.
Over the past few years, our family has also experienced many blessings through international adoptions. My brother Donald and his wife Tamera adopted their 
youngest daughter, Rachael, from China. She is a beautiful girl, now six years old. Rachael brings such spirit and joy to our family, it is hard to imagine not having her in our lives to love and bring smiles to everyone’s faces. My cousins in Massachusetts that I visited last weekend have also experienced the joys of adoption. Nancy adopted her daughter Alisa from El Salvador and Mary Beth and Doug adopted their daughter Polina from Russia. I had a wonderful time with both of them last weekend; they are truly lights in our family’s lives.
Every exchange of love reminds me of the great blessings from God that these girls are to our family. It is easy to see that my family members were called to adopt, what an incredible act of grace! As noted in Mark 9:36-37, Jesus taught His disciples that whoever welcomes a child into their lives also welcomes Him. Countless delights and blessings have certainly followed for our family, as these children were welcomed and embraced. All of the world’s children deserve to grow up in a home with a family that will love and care for them. I am so fortunate to be a part of a family involved in the ministry of international adoption, as these children are a daily reminder of God’s love and eternal goodness.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Visiting Family in Massachusetts



       

          
         I just returned from a wonderful trip with my mother and brother, David. We flew to Massachusetts for a long weekend to visit my Aunt Ella, Uncle Jim, and my cousins’ families. It was great to see everyone and to spend time together. It was especially nice to spend more time with my cousin Mary Beth’s daughter Alisa and my cousin Nancy’s daughter Polina. They have so much energy and are both very sweet!
We also spent a lot of time outdoors; Massachusetts is gorgeous this time of year! The land was so lush and green. We enjoyed exploring the town of Cheshire, where Nancy lives, and even spent some time hiking along the Appalachian Trail. The trail runs right behind her house! It is amazing to think we can hike along the same trail whether we’re in North Carolina or Massachusetts. 

                                                                       You just have to find the familiar white blaze marked on the trees and rocks along the way.
We made so many cherished memories last weekend, I hope we can all get together again soon with the rest of our families!