Art to match a mood…

Happy Death

The skull represents my current mood…I must smile no matter what. At all costs be happy.

Midnight Flight

The dragon symbolizes the desire to fly away


Enchanted Twilight (Series) 2

I have completed a few more to add to the Enchanted Twilight series.

I imagine I will be able to focus more on my art as I have come to realize my employers focus more on their needs than work. In turn, I am following suit. I have essentially put my own needs career wise on hold and was focusing on other’s needs. I was enlightened today by some very rude remarks.

As I am losing my sight and the use of my hands, I shall no focus on what I need and what my family needs and not put someone else’s needs before ours.

Twilight’s Blossom
Tropical Twilight
Twilight Love
Twilight Love
Twilight Wisher

Reviewing Bessie’s Pillow Published by Strong Learning Inc

Reviewing Bessie’s Pillow Published by Strong Learning Inc



This a review of the book, Bessie’s Pillow  published by Strong Learning Inc.

Kira loves to read.  Love is an understatement, actually. By the age of 6 she had read virtually all of the young children’s section of our local library. This was on top of her own personal collection which held 200+ titles.

Her love of reading was inherited from my Mother, I imagine.  Many of her personal collection were given to her by my Mother before she passed from cancer in 2009. I mention my Mother as the following review will have quite a bit to do with her.

I knew prior to receiving the book that this would be a wonderful lesson for Kira,  especially with the current state of affairs in our country with immigration.  As descendants of immigrants, I felt this was a perfect lesson prompt for Kira about immigration. Linda Bress Silbert’s “Bessie’s Pillow” is an absolutely perfect way to begin a homeschool lesson about immigration. Her historical fiction first person account of an immigrant’s plight truly is outstanding and a perfect way to introduce a young mind into the world of an immigrant.

Kira quickly read through the 279 (small font) novel in an afternoon.  I did not ask Kira to read it quickly.  This was her own doing.  Although she loves reading, she does not love every book she reads.  Bessie’s Pillow falls under the category of a book she loved.

Kira’s favorite character was Nathan Dreizen. Kira normally finds history boring, but said this story was great.

After reading the book, Kira was curious and eager to learn more.  She asked permission to visit the Bessie’s Pillow website as mentioned in the back of the book. Once we visit the site and landed on the Discover Bessie’s America page, the fun began!

Once we began exploring the website we quickly navigated to the European Immigration page. Once there, we started our own little ancestry search. I knew a handful of information only.  As I mentioned earlier, I lost my Mother in ’09 to cancer.  I lost my father at the tender age of 11.  Both my maternal and paternal grandparents have also passed.  Although I do have quite a gigantic family on both sides, I do not have a great deal of lineage information.  In tow with what little I could remember, we began our search.  What a delight this was!  I had done this once before in about 2007….information was not as readily available as now,  however, and I could not find much at all. This time though, we found a plethora of knowledge all at our hands courtesy of the links on :Discover Bessie’s America page!

My Mother’s grandparents hail from Ireland and Germany, we found them in no time. Our search took us back to my great-great grandparents before we were forced to stop for dinner! I printed off what we found. We next will begin our search on my Father’s side, then we get to begin my husband’s ancestry.

Now our St. Patrick’s day celebration and my preparation of brisket and soda bread has a new meaning for Kira, as do the decorations around our home on the holiday. The history behind the celebrations we have will help keep traditions for many generations to come, I hope.  I fondly remember my Nana telling me stories and now I can share those with Kira.

Bessie’s Pillow , published by Strong Learning Inc. provided the perfect gateway to a fabulous lesson which shall last us for several months.

Our searches have not cost us a single penny either! Although there are several sites out there that may provide more information at a price, we managed to obtain all our information without spending any money!

Kira and I highly recommend Bessie’s Pillow to every home school family.
Twitter:  @BessiesPillow


Disclaimer HomeSchool Review Crew


Creating A Masterpiece Monthly Plan

 Creating A Masterpiece’s Monthly Plan

Create A Masterpiece Logo

This a review of Create A Masterpiece’s Monthly Plan.  My daughter Kira decided to use lessons in charcoal for our review of Creating A Masterpiece’s monthly plan. It has been a wonderful journey with Creating a Masterpiece. Kira has learned a lot and loved each moment!


Lessons in Charcoal: Sailing Adventure and Lessons in Charcoal Shading; Stork, both available on the wonderful Creating A Masterpiece site.

Kira has been having a blast with Create A Masterpiece!!!

Kira began with the Lessons in Charcoal; Sailing Adventure.

Being an artist myself, you would think I could easily teach Kira the basics of charcoal. Indeed I have tried. But Kira would become frustrated easily when I did try.

We both would end up with soot-colored hands and extremely frustrated. I felt dreadful because I really could not explain properly for Kira to learn.

I think it is  easier for me to just create art than actually try and explain my personal process.  Especially when I do not follow any sort of fundamental technique. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised as Kira began immediately sketching along with the videos as she watched. I kept my distance and although I could see and hear everything, I essentially was not involved what so ever. I knew from previewing the videos myself prior that all any young budding artist needed was there for the viewing. I just hoped that Kira would soak it up like a little artistic sponge!

Create A Masterpiece Logo

Kira has always loved to draw.  It was no big surprise when she quickly completed her first lesson. Although she  is her own worse critic, I was absolutely amazed at the results and how quickly she achieved them with Creating A Masterpiece! When she was frustrated, Kira could pause the lesson and walk away. The waves and mast had her slightly annoyed at first. But as quick as that came, it soon left! The monthly plan is a phenomenal deal for any family!


Create A Masterpiece Logo

Once she completed the lesson, Kira requested to try more, even asked if she could try a more difficult level! I of course was beaming with pride.  It always excites me when Kira is eager to learn!

Create A Masterpiece Logo

Once Kira began her second Creating A Masterpiece lesson, Charcoal Shading: Stork, her pace slowed a bit. I could see and hear that she was learning a lot more with the more advanced lesson.  She would pause the video and study her piece and take her time.  Kira was slightly frustrated at first with the legs. I believe she finally grasped that art is far from perfect and saw how wonderfully her own Stork was becoming!

Create A Masterpiece Logo

Once completed, Kira was SMILING! Finally, something she made that she liked! It was very hard not to try and say, “do this” or “try that”. But I knew that she needed ZERO input from me.  The lesson was completely inclusive. All I had to supply was charcoal and a sketch pad, which of course we had plenty of.

Now Kira would like to tackle even harder lessons.  I imagine before long my child will surpass me artistically, if she has not already.  I am perfectly fine with that.  In fact, I absolutely love it!

I wish I had learned about this site sooner. The lessons are absolutely amazing. Kira and I highly recommend Creating A Masterpiece to every home school family.

Disclaimer HomeSchool Review Crew



Happy St. Patrick’s Day

 Éirinn go Brách

Meet Lucky, my little Irish Sprite

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  And believe it or not, some of us Irish descendants do not drink! Instead this one draws!!

A quick sketch of the Claddah



Reviewing Creative Freewriting Adventure


Reviewing Creative Freewriting Adventure

Kira has been having a blast creative writing  with Home School Adventure Co.’s Creative Freewriting Adventure!

This a review of the Creative Freewriting Adventure: A journey into freewriting.

For some children, writing  is a difficult task. Trying to create the perfect story and rewriting over and over can seem quite mundane to any child.  With the tools available from Philosophy Adventure , children are able to establish writing skills  over the course of several weeks with clear step-by-step instructions and writing checklists!

At first Kira was EXTREMELY leery.  When she first read her instructions, Kira freaked out.  It was….wait for it…..wait…..TIMED! Now how dare they?!? Kira has always panicked when something was timed. When I say panic, I mean full bodied anxiety.  There is nothing quite like watching your child go into meltdown over something so… well, let’s face it, trivial.  I (in my mind, of course) counted to ten, took a deep breath and told Kira to just give it a try. After all, it was for a review.  If she hated it, no big deal. What happened next was nothing short of a God given miracle!

Her first writing prompt was about Thales. She was provided 15 minutes to come up with a story. Much to her surprise, she completed her story in 13 minutes.  Mind you, she does not like the story, but was impressed that she was actually able to write it in under the allotted time! Here is her story from this first lesson;

I set out late one night for the well, thirsty for a drink of water. When I arrived, what a sight did I see before my eyes!

     It was Thales, the old philosopher. Like normal, he was watching the constellations, not paying a lick of attention to where he was going. many in the village say he is a batty old loon, but I like his philosophy and way of thinking.

     Anyways, Thales was not watching the ground below his feet, so he did not see the large stone protruding from the ground just a few feet in front of him. I started to cry a warning, But, alas, it was too late! He tripped magnificently and fell in the well with a loud cry and a large splash.

     So maybe it was wrong, but I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing. I extended a hand and pulled the old man out of the water. “Are you okay?” I asked him.

     He did not respond, but walked away with an indignant turn of his head, dripping a trail of water as he went. And, of course, he was still gazing at the stars.

     I watched, bewildered, for a minute, then turned to get that forgotten drink of water.


By the time she made her way to a prompt to write her own take on another book she felt like a pro!!! In the allotted time of 30 minutes she was able to complete the two part prompt in 25 minutes. Here is her story;

She was shroud in black, and spoke not a word, like a mysterious ghost of foreboding.

     I am just a simple scribe, working under His and Her Majesties. I have worked for them almost three decades now, but never have I seen anything like this.

     Princess Rosalie, their daughter, is a troubled and troublesome young lady. She moans and frets constantly, unhappy with this “awful life”, and upsetting the castle. If you ask me, she is just spoilt-rotten and deserve nothing more than a what-for.

   Tonight, as the moon rises with the twilight sky, they have called upon this woman in black to fix their daughter. They call her simply ” the wise woman”.

     “Please,” the queen pleads with her, “there has to be something you can do to help her.”

   The cloaked woman listens silently, impassive, almost. When they have finished their testimony, she takes the king’s goblet in one hand, gnarled and wizened from age. She raises it to the black expanse ‘neath her hood and drains it, slamming it down on the table.

     “I’ll be back.”

     They were the only words she spoke that night. She glided swiftly and silently out of that room and out of the palace.                                    


     It is the second night, and the “wise woman” has returned. The king and queen are watching her with hopeful faces. She circles the room, surveying both the room and the food and drink on the table.

     Finally she comes to a stop before the king’s throne. Thunder bellows outside. She stands before him and unclasps her robe.

     We gasp and cover our eyes, not from the sight of her, but, rather, the blinding light radiating from her. Within a few moments, the light is lessened, though not completely gone, and we open our eyes.

     The king and queen look around the throne room, bewildered. It is obvious that, for them, she has disappeared.

     I, however, can still see her with my eyes. Unlike the hand yesterday told, she is not a wizened old crone, but a beautiful young maiden, more beautiful than any princess I ever have and ever will see. She was not unclothes, but clad in a shimmering emerald dress.

     “If you want my help, there is a price to pay!” she cries in a voice that is sweeter than honey, but stronger than steel.

To complement the wonderful writing lesson there is an amazing coloring book!

For my mini artist/writer this was quite the bonus! Kira had a blast writing and coloring!

I let Kira pick her favorite to post;

I admit that Kira has always loved to write. So writing was not her learning struggle. It was the timing aspect. I tried to explain to her what creative writing was like for me in school. Hard to compare when being asked, “Is that not why you home school me?” Yes, Kira is quick on her feet! But I remembered being timed, I actually loved it because it forced me to focus. I see how it has done the same now with Kira! Although she has always written amazing stories, this has forced her to actually fully focus. It is an enormous blessing in all of her lessons!

Philosophy Adventure is designed to help students 6th-12th grade. The lessons are great by themselves or can be used to complement other educational resources.  You need nothing extra either! Well, a pen and a computer of course.

They have subjects including English Composition, World History/Geography, Speech/Communications, and Logic/Critical Thinking.

Kira shares her own review here;


I wish I had learned about this site sooner. The resources are absolutely amazing. Kira and I highly recommend Home School Adventure Co to every home school family.

You are invited to sign up for Home School Adventure’s  newsletter and receive a free Study on Thales – The Father of Western Philosophy. The study includes: Thales Lesson, Note booking Page, Freewriting Assignment, Memory Cards, and more.

Twitter:  @HomeSchoolAdven




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Life As An Illustrator

Happy March!!!!!!!!!!

Well, normally I would be posting all the art I have been working on…However since I have been back to work post surgery, I have been quite busy.

Once again there were name changes….this resulting in me having to create yet even more new logos. Oh what fun……

I think I am burned out on the constant rebranding.  How many name changes does it take?

Anywho, so doing new logos and mascots has kept me busy and from the actual important work. With this new branding/logo I had to also edit former ads and animations.  I absolutely love having to edit 16+ layers of an animation and not get paid a penny more to do so.  Do you detect my sarcasm?  The rebranding has taken time away from the real work as I previously stated.  What is this real work?

Why illustrating of course!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am BEYOND excited to be working once again with the incredibly talented Barbara Poor!!! After our previous work together, The Girl With The Curly Red Hair, I am extremely excited to work with her once again!

I am up to 16 preliminary sketches for our next book! Although all the authors I have been blessed to work with are wonderful, I must say Barbara is the easiest to please! I have had zero revisions or redo’s for her to date! Any illustrator will tell you that is beyond rare! Barbara’s talent is unmatched, as is her kindness. You can learn more about Barbara by visiting her website here; To see more of my illustration work please visit:

I am also busy creating relevant ads for all previously published books via FoxTots, which I am now fully in charge of.  Because I need more to do yet not be paid more….again denote the sarcasm.



I love making animations, unless of course I am remaking 16+ layers because rebranding (and not being paid more for this) is an ever occurring issue!

I also have had the pleasure of FINALLY receiving a digital proof of a book I submitted the art for last summer. I am extremely excited to see this project done. It seems there has been one delay after the other on it.  I never realized when I signed this contract that only I was given a submission deadline! Lesson learned and henceforth I will not be given a deadline unless all parties have one.  I have done unsurmountable hours of illustration work, which at the moment  is all completely unpaid.  The digital proof thankfully only had  minor errors which I assume shall be fixed forthwith, as again it has been quite a while in the making.