Illustrating who & what I love!

Reindeers are smarter than people and ten year olds are ....

Often unknowingly wiser than adults!

First!  Please forgive how long it has been since I've posted an illustration or notation!  I'll try to catch-up and offer much more!  In the mean time there are some drawings under China Adoption HERE.
House Mail!  My 10 year old made paper mail boxes and taped outside of each bedroom.  I'm sure I should mind, scotch tape all over the walls, but seriously, how much do I love this?!
   Each day we exchange some words of wisdom or more often than not, I get a "Mommy love note," which I promptly tape into my "Smash book!"   What is so amazing is how many times the 10 year old Ladybug comes up with the wisdom, as with the quote above!   For certain, I need to jot these things down fast or I forget but today, I added some art to the quote!  

I'll likely re-do this drawing and clean up the text to make it still charming, but neater!  I'll post in my ChinaGirlEtsy shoppe but in the meantime, I have to go pop this drawing into my 10 year old's mail box before she gets off the bus and checks her "in box!"  

As always, I invite messages here or by email or on Facebook for suggestions of what you would like to see!  

Fab n' Easy Dollar Store Easter Craft


An fab' n' easy Easter Decor craft 

Well, this handy-dandy Easter craft took minutes and was the price of pocket change!  We took a Dollar Store floral wreath as an anchor and pressed plastic eggs into it and filled in the empty space with Dollar Store artificial flowers!  I cut the buds off and simply pressed in.  I don't know that it photographs in true color, but I was going for a modern shades of turquoise with the eggs.  I think the pink blooms are perhaps a wee bit too sweet!  I may have to pick up some other color blossoms and substitute to give this a bit of a more chic look!

It truly took minutes except for the fact my helper enjoyed lingering on the project a bit!  She reveals it can be both a door accent and and Easter bonnet and what's not to love about that!?

Nature, Nurture, nudging when it comes to Summer Art!

Anyone can make Ceramic Art for a little over a quarter!

I have an art studio in my home and two young children.  One would might therefore conclude that my girls would be endlessly elbow-deep in creative projects with the vast selection of art materials, rainbow selections of colored pens, pencils, paints and crayons and materials that inspire me every time I walk in to my "personal mecca" in the house.   Well, here's the truth!  As a professional artist I often feel like the doctor whose kids are the ones with the runny noses!  I have to nudge to get the creativity going!

I have to prompt any activity but once I do, and especially on loooong hot summer afternoons during a heat wave, the kids can actually have a hoot and want to create a museum gallery in the house of their projects - or post them for sale as my 9 year old suggests!  (Like Mom E., Like Daughter!)

One of my standard project that evolves over time, depending on the level of the art and/ or the age of the child is creating art on tiles.  White  4x4 tiles are (I think) a tad' over .25 cents at Home Depot!  I keep a bunch on-hand as well as slightly larger ones.  Yesterday, when it was still too hot to head to the pool, and I couldn't bare to hear Nicklelodeon on in the background for another minute,  I "assigned" my 9 year old to draw cats.  (I'll submit to Kids National Geographic as part of their monthly "art call submissions ... and will do this until we get something actually in the magazine)!   

I scanned the drawing and reduced to 4x4 inches to fit on the white tile.  Then, a layer of Mod Podge on the tile, we placed art, and then a layer or two on top.  I used a blow dryer in-between to quicken the drying process... and then  Ta' dah, a coaster/ art plaque.

But then, we took it up a notch and sprinkled glue and colored glitter.  Fabulous.  I had Triple Thick Glaze, that is just over a dollar in a small bottle at AC Moore and it sealed the art and glitter and gives a glass-like service.  Even more fabulous!

So on these loooooong hot summer days, think of Home Depot for art supplies, i.e. the tiles and cutting and pasting almost anything on them and sealing with glue or Mod Podges if you have it on hand!  If you don't have any, just dilute glue with a lil' water and it works just as well!

Stay cool, stay fab, stay creative!

Mermaids n' Summer!

Old Leggings, Big Sister and ta' dah!!!!  Mermaid Tail!
I don't know what it is about Mermaids, but my 9 year old is determined to have a mermaid tale, one way or another!  I suggested she look up on YouTube as I went about doing house things n' this n' that!
Before I knew it and after much yelling between the siblings; a mermaid was born... hatched... evolved???

The old leggings are stretched beyond use, but what the heck do I care; we have the first of what I think will be many mermaid tale variations!

Sweet China Girl Art

Well of course if I did an illustration of my oldest daughter, (see previous post) I had to do one of my youngest daughter!  I am having such fun creating personalized prints of children and offering in my AdoptionOptionShoppe on Etsy.  This was something that was born from my creating images of my daughters for school notes, stationery and this n' that.  And of course, as soon as I'm finished a drawing, I feel like they've changed and I really must update, do over or modify.  Ooooh, the tortured Mom E. artist! ;o)

My goal in drawing children is for them NOT to look like caricatures but rather the way they would look if they were an illustration in a children's book.  I've done one every year of my oldest daughter and hang them in simple white frames in her room.  They are small and very simple white IKEA frames.  Amazing how a simple white frame and a few organized images on a wall can become a charming design accent!  I'll take a picture and post on the blog! 

Thank you for looking and letting me share and as  always I invite suggestions for art images to include in my AdoptionOptionShoppe!   You dream it and I doodle it!   email me with any ideas you'd like to see!

3rd Grade Rocks....

So every year, since my 8 year old was in Pre-School, I've created a doodle / drawing of her.  I don't think of it as a caricature so much as how she would look if she was an illustration in a children's book.  The funny thing is that if I don't put too much effort or think too had about the image, it usually turns out to capture her!  I'm not sure what she will think of the above image!  I'm awaiting her approval on this current one!  The hardest thing to capture is the little glee that is always in her eye... I'll let you know if she approves or would like to see revisions! 

I'll also do (and post) one of my four year old.  The nice thing about my 4 year old is she pretty much likes anything I draw, whether it's my interpretation of her or a dolphin... it's allllll about the dolphins and images of dolphins right now!  She can't get enough dolphins!  I love that! 

Once the images are complete I create everything from note cards, school cards, book marks, nice framed art for their rooms, etc. etc!
Funniest line of the summer as echoed by my 8 year old regarding summer days!
I'm an At-Home, work-at-home Mom E. Person.   This summer, as with most anytime that I get to spend with my children, I pinched myself at how truly lucky I am to fill my days with playing and being with them, while sort of balancing keeping house and working on my art / design business.  Although, in reality, this summer, the only people who were truly creating in my studio were my 8 and 4 year old and their play dates!  Last summer I seemed able to "do it all, "this summer most of my time was ruled by the activities of my two Looney Tunes!

The reality of summer days was mostly spent keeping the house [from falling apart] which included seemingly always being in the kitchen, straightening out piles that nest here n' there through the house, emptying cat litter, scrubbing toilet bowls, making beds, doing endless rounds of laundry for which I'm sure I'll never catch up, venturing to the pool in the later afternoons only to be splashed by ankle-biters who flailed their arms and feet in my direction, while also breaking up the occasional rounds of sibling rivalry --  and all while engaging and entertaining and teaching my girls life-lessons through summer play. 

**Thank God for my escapism of Bravo TV because often by the very end, I needed a little reward of being mindless!

In the summer, I'm certain At-Home Moms pull more moves in a given day than any athlete on a field and have to come up with more strategies to keep the day on schedule and  "moving forward," than would be reflected in the play book of any coach for any sport!

As I said, I often pinch myself at the joy and blissful exhaustion of it all but had to make note of what my 8 year old said, as is pictured above!  Her observation killed me with its innocence!    Ya' either grab a note card and jot down the funnies or grab a camera and capture a "kodak moment," as they come along on the conveyer belt of childhood!  <3 p="p">

Free list for She E. O! Mom E. Person to do list!

Click to enlarge n' print!
or drag to your desktop to print on standard 8.5x11 sheet of paper!
So, I am still working on the "art-project-a-day-summer-theme," with my two girls, but  I have to admit, there are no art projects happening on the weekends!  Why?  Because some days I think I'm more into the projects than the girls and two I'm human; I get a little tired!  Also, along with stealing time here n' there through the week, the weekends are when I devote time (albeit not very much during summer) to create art for my Etsy Vanity Gallery and Etsy Adoption Option Shoppe.

I don't know about you, but what I know about me, is that I need paper lists to feel organized and stay sane!  I live n' die on my iPad but also have found that I will always thrive with a list on a piece of paper and more than ever during the summer when my kids world merges with mine... all day! 

To this end, I've created this very easy-to-print list for all of us!  And really, aren't we all the She E O of our family!?   Hope you enjoy!

Summer Art Projects - everyday!

It's the summer of Art-Project-a-Day!  Now for all I know, this will drop of my "creativity map" after two weeks, but except for weekends, we are going to try to hold to it!

Hopefully I'll post the projects and pix but for now, we have tie dye -T -shirts,  scruncy tissue paper art (I'll u/load a photo soon) and created some yard / garden signs i.e. Toad Road!  I think I'm going to be the one that has the most fun as my 8 year old has already said, "Do we have to do it?!"  Jeeekers!  I'll let you know how this goes and am open to any art project suggestions!

Free China Girl bookmark for you!

Click to enlarge n' print or....
Click and drag to desktop to print!  I often try to make very general images but I also base many an image on my own 8 year old.  Reading is very, very big these days so I have created a bookmark for her...that I'm smiled to learn that she also uses to write notes to girlfriends!  Oy!  Well, at least she's not using a phone or texting... hopefully that's way-O-way in the future!  Enjoy!

What would you like to see?!!!

Hmmmmm, whatya' thinking?
I admit this doesn't look like my usual ChinaGirlLove art, but just as with my "Fab'log," which features my woman-to-woman art and humor, I'm asking YOU, what would you like to see!  I'm very overdue in creating a freebie here and hopefully YOU will suggest something that I can create for you to be able to download! 

In this ever challenging economy, I went from creating best-selling woman humor greeting cards entitled Vanity Cases for a pretty big company, but they've had much financial trouble and therefore stopped paying us Artist People!  I always say I love what I do and would do it for free, but I think I actually need to amend, I love what I do and would like to make a little money.  

To this end, I've re-thunk my art and have created two stores on  An AdoptionOption Shoppe store is there but still needs much art.   I've been focusing on is this one; the Vanity Gallery.  Oy, the life of a starving artist!  Anyway, that's what's been going on and why I've been delayed with popping ideas on this site!!!  And as always, if you follow my VanityCasesArt&Humor page on FB, I post many freebie art alerts there!  

Mini Chore Chart cards!

I'm forever trying to figure out a cute n' clever way to prompt my 8 year old to do her chores and this mini "check-it-out" chore chart seems to be working -- at the moment!  As with all my chart ideas, it has a certain lifespan and then I have to come up with another clever idea!


This can be used 2 ways; you jot down the chores and you can either "punch" i.e. check out the completed chore, or simply put a check mark below the butterfly!  Fast, easy, fun!

Mini Chore Chart cards

Click n'slide to your desktop to print.
*I designed to be printed on a standard size 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, but you may have to print at 95% of original size if picture clipping occurs! 

Easy, easy craft with sparkle paint n' stones!

Kitchen Table Art Project
This is a craft I did at 7:00 in the morning while getting two kiddos ready for school and I didn't skip a beat!  Let me stress, I am soooo not super woman and only wish I were a "type A" person, because maybe then, I'd understand why every drawer in my house has evolved into a junk drawer!  I was responsible for non-edible Valentine treats for a pre-school party and while I had the requisite throw-away items in a little bag, I created these GOOD LUCK ladybugs and liked em' best of all and I think the kiddos did as well!
Sparkle puffy paint, a Sharpie marker, pebbles and your are set to go!  Draw out the little Ladybug, then sort of thickly dab the paint from the nozzle of the paint bottle and then micro-wave to dry...if like me, you are doing first thing in the morning!  Now my second grader has asked for a bunch of them!  The perfectly imperfect stones can be found at a Dollar Store, craft store, or maybe in your own backyard!!!!  Just thought I'd share the recent "kitchen table project!"

Fun freebie for us grown ups!

For someting fun n' different just for YOU, click on my Fab'log for a fab, FREE bookmark!  
Hope you enjoy!  Also, for both free ChinaGirlLove and VanityCases art alerts I hope you'll LIKE my art page: Vanity Cases Art & Humor by ColleneKennedy on Facebook.  

*It always feels so funny to ask one to "like" moi even if it's Facebook!

Valentines Printables

Click n' Print
Once you click and enlarge, this should print out nicely on an 8.5x11 piece of paper.  Fold in half vertically and horizontally and cut.  If it's a tad' too large in printer settings print at @95%! If that doesn't work email me and I'll send you a file!

Oh Sweet Gang!  I'm so sorry I haven't had time to create a new Valentine Printable but happily I've had quite a lot of special requests for individual China Girl illustrations of adorable little ones, a donation request or two or three for my woman-to-woman humor prints and adding art to my VanityGalleryStore, as well as trying like mad to open my AdoptionOption shoppe on Etsy.  I'm looking forward to offering lotsa' charming, reasonably priced images available at first, as prints!  I'm always, always open to suggestions!   In the meantime, enjoy this printable!!!!

Valentines Printables

Okay, so here's my goal!  I plan to u/load some charming free Valentine Printable in the next day or so!  Something simple n' sweet that you can print for your little one's to pass around.  So, either follow my Vanity Cases Art & Humor Facebook page for an art alert, or this blog, or just click on back when you get a moment!  I'll try to make something fun that could be used by a girl or boy!

See ya/  Collene

Sister Love

I so know that most of you come on by here for free art which I really, really enjoy creating.  I also try to regularly create items that can be customized for my ChinaGirlLove and VanityCases on line stores, but I must say; the my Ladybug and Daisy have not been respecting my "To Do" list these days!  I always say I work a full-time job in pockets of time and there are waves when I need to accept the best thing I did on a given day was make the two little sillies smile!  My girlies have kept me busy!

Soooooo with that being said, I'm rolling up my sleeves and clearing the drawing board and will post something in the next day or so that you can print from this site!  Frankly, I'm thinking a "Try to do" list will be the

Charming China Girl Book Mark

Click n' Print
You can print these charming China Girl bookmarks on a single page of 8.5 x 11 paper, one of two ways.  You can click on the image and it will appear larger whereupon you print.  Or, you can right click and slide the image on to your desktop to print.  I printed at 97% of the size of the full image which is something you can adjust when you print.  At 97% no part of the image is cut off of the printing area.
I left room for notes ... because I'm always taking notes when I read of information, websites or this or that.   I use bookmarks for everything I read from mags, to tabloids, to actual books!  If you'd like to look at more lil' ol' charming China Girl and Boy images take a look art in my on-line ChinaGirlLove store!   Enjoy!

Mini-Chinese Adoption Reunion~

Sisters for life - 
So much I want to jot down and share about our semi annual mini Chinese Adoption Reunion!  I just need a few moments very, very soon, but in the meantime, a picture is worth a zillion words of our magical girls that we brought home 7 years ago Christmastime!  For our mini reunion four of the girls from our original group of many more are clearly special sisters and have a bond that is a bit magical!  Our girls knew each other before they knew us and yet I certainly bet all of us Moms feel like we've known them in our hearts our whole lives!

More pix and fun updates later when I get a moment -