Lately Around Here

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Lately Around Here: All About Marty

Lately Around here

What can I say other than hi, friend.  Remember me? It’s been a while.

There’s so much to say, where should I begin? First of all, I had a baby! Wow, even writing that feels so wild. It’s been a dream of mine forever to have a family and now that it’s here, it feels surreal.  And exhausting.  You know all of those things people say about sleep deprivation when you have a baby?  They’re all true.

To be honest, it was a bit of a rough start for me, though. Being a little older getting started on the family thing, the whole experience was a bit of a rude awakening.  Add in the fact that Marty was a colic-y baby and well, it wasn’t pretty.

In about the third month post partum I started having some really down days.  Really down.  All of a sudden, I was crying for no reason, feeling super anxious and had a general feeling of not wanting to do anything.  It wasn’t until Marty’s doctor literally said: “You are off the charts for post partum depression and need to talk to someone about it” that I got a good therapist and started digging myself out of the hole.  Did you know that post partum anxiety (not just depression) is a real thing?  Me either.  But that stuff is intense and will throw you for a loop believing things that aren’t really true.  It was pretty disarming.

Because I never thought PPD would happen to me, I ignored the signs and soldiered on.  But wow, it all kind of snuck up on me and showed me that you just never know. Looking back, I realize I should have known something was up when I wasn’t even slightly interested in getting back to my normal happy-making activities (painting, working on my blog + reading good books.)  I know that’s normal as a new mom with a newborn, but this was another level of disinterest.  It was a humbling experience and made me so much more aware and compassionate for those other mommas in the early days of motherhood.  It’s challenging to say the least (especially if you’re breast feeding.)

Anyway,  I’m happy to say I’m starting to come out of the fog.   It was easy for me to lose myself, especially in those early months.  Feed Marty, change diaper, put down for nap.  Repeat.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  The days blurred together and I teetered back and forth between misery and baby bliss. I’m getting back to doing things for me too, rather than all for Marty which is all I could do in the beginning.  I still feel somewhat lost, but just talking about it is helpful and shines a light on what needs to shift.  It’s an ongoing process and I’m starting to enjoy being a mom.

SO let me tell you about the fun stuff!  Martel Christopher was born in the early morning of November 23rd and was 8 pounds 11 oz., 20 1/4 inches long.  “Marty” as we call him, is an amazingly alert and sweet baby.  He’s 4 months old now and is as strong as an ox–he has ‘happy feet’ that constantly kick.  He smiles and coos and grunts all day long as he plays on his mat.  He shows us a little more each day who he is and I’m so happy he’s mine.

Since this was my first baby, I had no idea what to expect.  I’m happy to say that this ignorance and keeping a fairly open mind helped me have a pretty easy, uneventful birth.  This picture is me about 5 minutes after delivering, I was on a total natural high.  All I could think of was: I did it!

Marty Birth

This is one of my favorite pictures of him, still to this day.  He’s chilling in the hospital bed with me, so chunky and gorgeous.  I was so proud of what my body did to create this amazing human being.

 

20151123_161227

 

MartyMarty

So there you have it! I have a zillion more pictures, but I’ll spare you 🙂

There’s so much to be thankful for, I’m trying to keep my eye on that as I muddle through the sleep deprivation and trying to find my way back to myself.  It’s been amazing to watch him grow this short time, I’m looking forward to a lifetime of sweet moments with him.

Love, Steph

 

Lately Around Here: All About Marty2019-04-07T11:41:05-04:00

Around Here Lately: Life on Instagram

I love sharing everyday tidbits about what I'm up to over on Instagram! Follow along with me: @stephaniemartel

Whoa nelly!  It’s been a while since I’ve given an update!  There’s so much happening around here, I’m really excited to show you what’s been going on.  I’ve participated in craft shows, created a new ecourse, had an amazing baby shower + created new art.  If you want to follow along with me for more current updates, you can find me on Instagram here.  Alrighty, let’s get started!

This is just a little peek of my craft show set up to show you how my display has changed.  It’s so important to keep trying new ways to display my work to get more interest, but I’m convinced there’s not one right answer. I just try to make it inviting + warm so people will stop and take in the different images.  (And hopefully take one home for themselves!)

Come follow along with me on Instagram! www.instagram.com/stephaniemartel

Come follow along with me on Instagram! www.instagram.com/stephaniemarte

Time is flying over here! So fast, I don’t think I ever shared with my Instagram peeps that I’m pregnant (this is 32 weeks). Yep, our little butterball, baby G is expected to make an appearance on Thanksgiving. This pregnancy thing is wild! 

Come follow along with me on Instagram! www.instagram.com/stephaniemarte

Here are some midday doodles I made with the spectrum noir markers. I just got them and aside from the strong stink, the colors are beautiful!  Has anyone tried these and compared them to copic markers? Which do you like better?

Come follow along with me on Instagram! www.instagram.com/stephaniemarte

Be with those who help your being. -Rumi  New art up on the blog today! Come take a peek ???? 

Come follow along with me on instagram! www.instagram.com/stephaniemartel

I’m working on a free 5 day ecourse for you sweet people! It’s for anyone that feels like they need a personal reboot to get back in touch with who they are.   It’s low pressure, high inspiration emails with prompts to help you dig in to who you are. Everyone needs a little boost now and then, amiright? ???? Stay tuned, I’m hoping to unleash it to the world next week.

UPDATE: It’s available right here!

Digging In: a 5 day ecourse to bring you back to yourself!

Here are a few of the sweet faces that made my baby shower so special this weekend! Only 6 weeks to go, the countdown is on ????

Follow along with me on Instagram! @stephaniemartel

So there it is, folks.  For more current updates, come on over to Instagram and say hi!

Love, Steph

 

 

 

Around Here Lately: Life on Instagram2018-03-29T20:23:07-04:00

Lately Around Here: Celebrations

Lately Around here

It’s been a while since I’ve given a personal update so here are a few things that have been happening lately!  It’s Spring!  And there’s so much going on around here, I’m not sure where to begin, so I’ll just start with the most obvious celebration: I’m getting married this weekend! Three days from today, hopefully it will be sunny and crisp outside, Chris and I will be tying the knot.  Whoa.

And here are a few of the generous women that helped me celebrate at my wedding shower.  What a day–it was dreamy, with a harp playing and everything!  I KNOW!

The lovely ladies of my bridal party:

bridal party

My Maid of Honor (and sister) who knocked it out of the park, Olivia:

me + liv

My future Mother In Law, Susan:

me + susan

My dreamy cake (cannoli filling and chocolate mousse!):

cake

There were so many of my dear and close friends there, it felt so, so special to have them all gather for me.  It was an absolutely perfect day.

The next celebration we had was my dad’s 80th; we couldn’t let this monumental birthday go by without properly recognizing it, so my siblings and I threw him a surprise party.  We invited his sisters from hours away and his closest friends–he was shocked, to say the least!  I think he spent the first 10 minutes in the corner collecting himself, so we clearly did a good job of keeping it a secret. He he

It was a special moment to be able to celebrate this exciting day with him and his friends.  The older I get, the more I realize having my dad around as I create my own family is such an amazing gift.    It’s like life coming full circle.

Surprise!

Some of the nosh before the dinner:

Party Food

Cake, cake cake!  You can’t see very clearly, but the invitation had a picture of my dad as a kid on a pony.  It’s adorable!

Cake

Even though it’s been a fun time of celebrations, I still appreciate the gentle winks I get from the universe that everything is good.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the hoopla of everyday life that I can forget what I’m actually doing–I can forget to have fun and embrace the moment.  It’s important not to sweat the small stuff.  So when I get these little reminders, it kind of snaps me back into reality. 

Here are two I got this week–a heart at the bottom of my salad dressing (is that you saying hi, mom?) and a feather on my pants when I was working out (ignore the lint), maybe it was from a guardian angel?

salad heart
feather

On the art front, I finished another girl named Olivia (that’s my sister’s name), called “Love Who You Are”.  This sentiment is something we always talk about–loving who we are, warts and all.  It’s a journey for sure, because we all have that inner critic that is never satisfied; but we need to remember daily to love who we are.  Because we’re fabulous as is.  (Prints available here)

Love Who You Are

 

And here’s a peek of another girl in the works (almost done with her!)

In progress

So that’s a little of what’s going on in my world right now.  I’ve slowed down a bit on the art front, but I know that will pick up after the wedding.  There’s only so much a girl can do, and I’m ok with that.  From taking a breather, I have a few new ideas brewing and I’m also working on a big project that I’ll announce in a couple of weeks!

Stay tuned,

Signature

 

 

 

 

Lately Around Here: Celebrations2018-03-29T20:23:10-04:00

Lately Around Here: Winter + Art

Lately Around here

We’re in a deep freeze here lately in the northeast–It’s been cold, cold, cold here for weeks.  I’m a pretty up beat person, but this crazy weather can wear anyone down!    We did have a tease on Sunday though–40 degrees and it felt like a Spring day, but now we’re back to the frigid teens.  Boo hoo.

In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. -Albert Camus

Well played, Albert.  This too, shall pass and the warmth of summer will be back.

Winter

With the cold winter comes some beautiful views too.  I mean, really?  Sometimes I feel like Snow White in my own enchanted forest when I look out the back window and see this:

Deer

This isn’t a great picture, but I feel like this duo-selfie captured the moment perfectly–me and my Valentine went out for a romantic dinner together on the 14th.  We had such a great time checking out the Biergarten for a pre-dinner drink and then heading to Moonstruck for an amazing feast.  Swoon.

My Valentine

On the art front, this is another girl coming to life.  I love watching the process progress through pictures, it gives me a different perspective on the whole thing.

Beginnings
Beginnings progress

And here’s a peek inside my tweaking process with the color of the prints.  Since I have my own fine art printer, I needed to figure out the process so I can create a print I’m proud of.  I also wanted to make sure I was consistent, too, because there are so many different ways to create a print.

Along my journey, I’ve realized I just have to figure out the combination that I like best.  Have the printer control the color?  Have Photoshop control color?  There are a lot of combinations that can change how the print looks and it took me awhile to figure out which to use.  And even though the whole color management process can make me ca-razy with all of the adjustments, I’ve learned a ton along the way and I’m happy for my pages + pages of mistakes.

Tweaking colors

Here’s the final result of my tweaking.  I gave this sweet girl away for my Valentine’s giveaway.  Congratulations Felicia!

Valentine's Giveaway

And, oh yeah–I’m also in the middle of planning my wedding.  Holy moley, it feels like it’s taking over my life right now!  And it is, but that’s ok.  I dodged a major invitation debacle this weekend (the time was printed wrong!)  so I feel like I got my one bad thing out of the way.  Smooth sailing from now on…

Invitation graveyard

Signature

 

 

 

PS: Don’t ask for permission to take care of yourself

Lately Around Here: Winter + Art2018-03-29T20:23:12-04:00

Lately Around Here: Snow + Ski

Lately Around here

I took a little vacation last week with Chris to waaaaay up north Vermont.  He’s an avid skier and I’m always up for an adventure, so off we went!  The scenery was breathtaking on the way up.  Snow covered every tree and branch–it was a beautiful winter wonderland.  And the views!  The views…

Ski Bums in Vermont

I don’t know why I was surprised, but there were animals everywhere outside!  I felt so sorry for them because the average temperature at mid-day was about 14 degrees (F) but I guess they were used to it.  This was a particularly rugged pony but most of them had their own coats to keep them cozy.

Ski Bums in Vermont

We found this little loft on airbnb, which had a full kitchen so Chris whipped us up some amazing meals during our stay.  It was nestled in the woods not too far from the mountain we were going to ski at, Jay Peak.

Ski Bums in Vermont
Ski Bums in Vermont

Jay Peak is known for the jay cloud which is what the locals call the wind that blows into the mountain ridge, and lifts the air to create snow.  It happens regularly, even when there’s no storm system around (pretty cool, right?)

It’s a unique set of circumstances because of the way the mountains are set up–it also means 400 inches of snow per season, which is a crap load of snow!  Needless to say, it’s the coldest place in the East to ski.  Not exactly music to this warm-weather-lover girl’s ears.

Here is our first day at Jay.  On the left you can see the gondola that takes you to the tippy top of the mountain if you want to skip the other lower, shorter lifts. We didn’t waste any time and jumped on it right away while there were no lines.

Ski Bums in Vermont

Ski Bums in Vermont

Check out this peek from the top–and again, those views!  Chris was in his nature loving heaven.  I loved it too, but I was somewhat distracted about staying warm.  The gear that is needed for this type of trip is amazing: I’m talking every single spot of your body needs to be covered multiple times in order to avoid frostbite.  Whoa.

Ski Bums in Vermont

Ski Bums in Vermont

This was one of my favorite trails:

Ski Bums in Vermont

And at the end of the day, this is usually what I felt like–celebrating still being in one piece and psyched for a hot fire.

Ski Bums in Vermont

Eventually it all caught up to me. I like to think I’m pretty tough, but the third day in a row of skiing kicked my butt! So instead of fighting my way through the shakey and tired feeling, I chose happiness and retired by the fire in the lodge early. Sometimes giving up is winning too.

Ski Bums in Vermont

And it gave me a little time to doodle with my traveling art kit.

art supplies

Signature

 

 

 

Lately Around Here: Snow + Ski2018-03-29T20:23:12-04:00

Lately Around Here: Beginner’s Blues + What I’m Working On.

Lately Around here

Now I know why there are sooooo many blogs about creative art businesses and how-to posts.  There’s so much  to know in order to get things rolling when you’re starting an art business.  For example:  coordinating the languages that your scanner, printer + monitor all speak (because they’re all different).  It’s a never ending process of adjustments that I’m currently trying to figure out, I hope I can get it all set up correctly soon.

It was yet another reminder of how it feels to come up against that edge of the learning curve.  Sometimes I feel like it’s harder to learn something new as you get older because there are so many things that get in the way: previous knowledge holding me back from learning more, embarrassment of being wrong + the ever present ego that never wants to concede.  It’s been humbling lately around here.

As I go through this new landscape of building my art business, I try to remind myself that it’s ok to be a beginner, it’s ok to make mistakes and ask for help.  How else do I learn + grow?  I would love to think I’m so evolved that being a beginner comes easily, afterall I only started seriously painting about 3 years ago, but part of my natural reaction is to internally stomp my feet.  Can’t this beginner part just be done already?

I remind myself: It’s all a part of the process.  I will never stop learning.

And then I stumbled on this post about changing careers + passion + keeping it real.  It was so motivating and affirming–there’s so much talk about lightning-bolt type passion out there.  That if you don’t know what you’re passionate about, you’re not trying hard enough.  If you’re not consumed at ALL TIMES with what you’re purpose is, you just haven’t found it yet.   But I’m not an outer limits kind of person–I like my middle ground, thank you very much.  So this all-out approach doesn’t bode well for me.

The article explores the opposite of this: what about the day -to-day build of creating a life?  What about slow and steady?  This article puts wildly into perspective what I had hoped all along: that I just might be on the right path to reaching my dreams by working on it each and every day.  No lightning bolts.  No symphonies, just time and patience.  I don’t have to be a psycho consumed with art, I can plug along a little each day.  I’m running a marathon, not a sprint.

A sigh of relief.

So here is a view of what I’m surrounding myself with lately on my journey:

This is a work in progress–here is the first layer, more to come.

Rainbow

I love the close up on this one–those colors are so juicy and get my heart racing.  I recently started experimenting with the caran d’ache crayons and they’re a lot of fun (they’re the yellow and pink colors in the flower below).  Kind of like watercolors but they dry like acrylics + they’re very flexible but give a little more vibrancy.

Flower Snippet

This is a work in progress that has been evolving for some time now.  You know when you feel something is not quite right?  This canvas has been that for me–I must have done at least 4 layers of do-overs.  It’s starting to come around now–maybe it just needed a girl to give it life.

Flower Girl

Here’s a snapshot of my studio and some pieces I’ve been working on.  The stack to the right all need tweaking–it’s nice to have a surplus of things to keep working on.  It’s a good reminder to keep going to my class each week so the surplus keeps comin’.

studio mess

This was one of my first girl pieces that I really loved.  I recently revisited it and I still need to add some accents to their hair + maybe a little more background, but those two ladies make me very happy!

Heart Sisters

Yesterday, Chris and I took a drive to the twin lights and celebrated being together for 2 years.  It was an amazing day of slowing down and appreciating each other.  Those lazy days really recharge my spirit (he does too) and I’m so grateful for what we have.

Selfie
Lighthouse
Signature

Lately Around Here: Beginner’s Blues + What I’m Working On.2018-03-29T20:23:14-04:00
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