What’s New in the Studio

I’m in this strange and wonderful place where I’ve got a whirlwind of ideas spinning around me and I want to try all of them at once, but I also want to slow wa a a a a yyyy down and savour the joy that has come from giving myself permission to pursue art and pour my passion into making things that I hope will (a) reflect the glorious beauty of the Creator and His creation and (b) make others happy!

I’ve decided that, rather than try to build up my art business haphazardly before I really know what I’m doing, I’m going to take the time this year to learn more about art, develop new skills, hone my craft, and really get to know how the business side of things works. I’m hoping to finish the two courses I started in 2021 (Leverage Your Art with Stacie Bloomfield, and Pattern Design Academy with Anne Lafollette) but first I’m working on two other mini-courses in the Make Art That Sells series (by art agent Lilla Rogers). I’m currently enrolled in a portfolio “bootcamp” and just today started on a class that teaches about getting your art on home decor items.

In the meantime, I’ve been binge-watching HGTV Canada home reno shows (I love the Canadian ones because I find there’s less drama and more design / construction information) and starting to feel more courageous about getting artsy in my own home. I’ve lived here for over five years and have played it a bit safe until recently. Now I’m pulling out tubes of paint that were stored away for ages, and fabric, and adding little touches of colour and playfulness here and there, all the while scribbling down bigger ideas in a notebook to start tackling once the weather warms up and I can open windows while painting.

I’ll still be making and selling personalized bookmarks, greeting cards, and some other illustrated products (visit my shop to see what I’m offering) but, at this point, I’m not quite ready to turn Buttercup Design Studio into a brand. It’ll come. It’ll come! In the meantime, I’ll try to post regular updates with pics of what I’m working on. You can also catch some snapshots on my Instagram feed (or at the right side of this page). Thanks for following!


Embrace Boredom

Most people think of boredom as something negative. It makes them uncomfortable and anxious and they tried to avoid it at all costs. We live in a world of over-stimulation, information overload, and instant gratification. . . so why should anyone ever be bored, right? 

We seem to have forgotten that boredom kick-starts imagination and the problem-solving genius of our subconscience. Those of us in creative fields sometimes lament that we don’t feel inspired or can’t think of new ideas. More often than not, we’re probably trying too hard instead of sitting quietly, listening, watching, and letting our minds wander. If children have more toys and games and movies than they have time for, when will they invent, create, build, explore, and imagine?

Embrace boredom.

When you have time on your hands that you don’t know what to do with, don’t reach for your remote control or your laptop. Pull out a notebook or journal, and just sit quietly for as long as you can stand to. Look out the window or stare at the ceiling. Pray or hum a song. Pet your dog or moisturize your feet. Colour in this “Imagine” design, which you can download and print for free. It doesn’t matter, as long as you are not scrambling to chase your boredom away. Don’t run away from your thoughts. Scribble down any bright ideas that come to you. Let yourself be in the moment. Look around you, at people, at architecture, at the sky.

You never know when inspiration will hit.

In the studio. . .

My latest doodling craze has been personalized bookmarks (for customers) and some nifty candy cane gift tags (just for fun). This week I submitted several illustrations for another multi-artist colouring book by Ink & Willow, coming out next year. And today my Christmas cards got a little shout-out in Uppercase Magazine’s All About You newsletter. Hurray!

Welcome to the Studio!

In the coming weeks, you’ll be hearing more about Buttercup Design Studio, my fledgling art business. This blog will be revamped as part of the process so don’t be surprised if it looks different from what you remember.

Be sure to subscribe to Whimsy & Wisdom, my free weekly e-newsletter. New susbscribers will receive a link to a free download of my new and improved Puffy Christmas Tree (pictured here) tutorial.

Here are all the important links you might need:

Whimsy & Wisdom

The last 25 years have been an incredible journey of exploring the world of publishing and books andsurprise for me!illustration and art. And, over the last few months, I feel like God has given me greater clarity about what to do with my gifts and talents.

After much reflection and prayer, I’ve decided to give my creative work a name: Whimsy & Wisdom! (Thus the renaming of this blog, which used to be called Piece of Mind.) As many of you know, I’m passionate about both faith and artistry, I can be both serious and silly, and I’m committed to truth while also being a fan of wholesome fantasy. I have written articles about difficult subjects and doodled whimsical butterflies.

Some people worry that if they’re too joyful, people will judge them for not being serious enough. The opposite is also true. I am on a mission to remind people that they can be botheven at the same time! I want to inspire you toward seriously joyful living.

In the coming months I will be working on projects I look forward to sharing with the world at some point. But, for now, I’d like to ask you to sign up to receive a FREE weekly e-newsletter I’ll be launching sometime in February. You won’t be receiving long letters or articles to read (although I may include the occasional interesting link). Rather, I would like to send you bite-sized inspiration, creative ideas, and tips for living with more joy. And while I may occasionally mention my books, this newsletter won’t be a weekly sales pitch. That’s a promise!

How does that sound? Are you in? Then please click on this link and fill in just a couple of quick details: http://eepurl.com/hmTd8j. That’s it! 🙂

I’m not sure of the exact date I’ll send the first newsletter, but I’ll probably send an update in the next few weeks. Of course, you will always have the option to unsubscribe if you’re not enjoying the weekly emails.

Thank you for your time, interest, and encouragement! Wishing you many blessings in the days ahead,


Two “Joy” Books!

A month ago I shared a list of books that have had a great impact on my life in the last year or two but I didn’t say anything about the books I’ve written or collaborated on. So I’m going to tell you about two of them today!

The Joy of Working at Home

This summer, after numerous discussions about how COVID-19 has forced many people to work at home—people who never intended to work from home and possibly still hate doing so—three freelance writer friends and I decided to write an ebook covering all the ins and outs—and ups and downs—of telecommuting.

The Joy of Working at Home is a practical manual that covers, among several other topics:

  • Best practices for a useful workspace
  • Tools for managing time and tasks
  • Advice on staying healthy, professional and productive
  • Tips for setting boundaries
  • Help for blending work and family

At only $2.99 US from Amazon, you can download a copy for yourself and give one as a gift to a family member or friend who is also puzzling over how to deal with the challenges of working and living in the same space.

If you’re on Facebook, you can also follow our page for free book excerpts, bonus tips, and more: https://www.facebook.com/joyofworkingathome.

Choose Joy: A Coloring Book of Gratitude and Wonder

I was thrilled when, early in 2020, Ink & Willow asked me to participate, for the third time, in a multi-artist colouring book. (I had previously contributed five drawings each to Whatever Is Lovely and Everything Beautiful.)

This time, I not only got to draw seven of the pages in this gorgeous book, but one of my designs was chosen for the cover and I lettered the quotes on eight other illustrations. Five years into illustrating colouring books, this is my best work yet. I hope you’ll get a copy! Click here to find it on Amazon.

I’m working on several new creative projects that I look forward to sharing with you in 2021. Thanks for stopping by! I’ll share a Christmas reflection this weekend, so please make sure you’re signed up to be notified of new posts.


My Book Wish List (for you)

Since 2011, I’ve been keeping track of the books I read in an old notebook, listing books as I buy them and then using a date stamp to mark when I finish one of them. I have also finally started to keep track on Goodreads (you can follow me here).

As I read, I tend to pull out quotes I like and share them on Facebook (follow my author page here). A few friends have told me they appreciate my book recommendations so I thought I’d write a post about several books that have had a great impact on my life in the last year or so.

Other than the first two, they are in no particular order…

After the Bible, The Cure (by John Lynch) has been the biggest game-changer for me, especially as a long-time Christian who grew up in evangelical circles and became a pastor’s kid in my teens. A kind, older gentleman who was in my life for only a couple of months recommended it to me last November, not knowing the spiritual turmoil I was going through at the time, and God used it to open my eyes to the fact that I’d spent years trying to make Him (and everyone else around me) be pleased with me instead of trying to please Him. Every page of this book made me feel less alone, less hopeless, less lost. My relationship with God did a 180 turn and I’ve been going through a transformation I had begun to despair I’d ever experience.

The Rabbi’s Heartbeat by Brennan Manning – I’ve read this little book three times in the last couple of years. The second time was in one sitting, a few weeks before I read The Cure. I wept and wept as it touched a deep place inside, a place that found it hard to believe God truly loved me. It helped me better understand the kind of intimacy I could experience with God. Another game-changer.

Your Future Self Will Thank You by Drew Dyck – If you struggle with self-discipline and self-control and feel frustrated by failed attempts to form new habits, read this. It’s full of biblical wisdom and practical tips, woven with humour and backed up with brain science. It helped me shift the way I approach self-control and I’ve started to see good progress with my goals!

The Sensible Shoes series by Sharon Garlough Brown – These books read like novels but are packed, packed, packed with insights and encouragement about the journey of spiritual transformation we go through as we submit our lives to Jesus Christ. I was especially touched by the character Hannah as her story mirrored mine in some ways. (Fun fact: I got my ears pierced in January because of her!)

Influence by Kate Motaung and Shannon Popkin – Every Christian who is a writer or speaker or “influencer” of some sort needs to read this little book. The authors help make sense of the condundrum we all face: How do I market my work without making it all about me instead of God? Insightful and inspired.

Free to Lean by Jocelyn Green – I’ve read all eight of Jocelyn’s fantastic historical fiction books but this little non-fiction number is my favourite. It’s a breath of fresh air for those of us who feel weighed down by the pressure to be everything and do everything. Stop. Read this book.

Other books I highly recommend:

Your Beautiful Purpose by Susie Larson

Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Lies Women Believe by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Sex and the Single Girl by Juli Slattery

Me, Myself and Bob by Phil Vischer

The Minister’s Wife by Karen Stiller

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins