Spring in the Desert

barrel cactus flowers and fruit

I'm obsessed with the colors of the Barrel Cactus, fruit and flowers.

barrel cactus fruit

Creosote cotton.

creosote cotton in the wind

Scared little Thumper. So still, so quiet…I could almost hear her heart beating. One frame, she was there. The next, lightening fast, she was gone.

desert bunny

hawk over valley


The rest are iPhone shots from Spring walks…

#cactus #flowers - morning walk

Mesquite pods.

Mesquite #tree pods - morning walk



Looking up at a Palo Verde tree.

looking up at a palo verde tree

Walking on a cloud of Palo Verde petals.

morning walk - on a cloud of Palo Verde #tree petals. #sweetmu #dogstagram

Baja Fairy Dusters always catch my eye.

Baja Fairy Dusters always catch my eye. #desert #flower

morning walk - #palm #tree one

morning walk - #palm #tree two

Counting cactus pears.
After dinner #sidewalk explorin' with my fave small fry.  #cactus

Happy Spring!


Sam Says #17

Sam Says

Talking about his life long dream of bringing dinosaurs back from extinction.
Sam: How can we convince dinosaurs that humans are NOT food? Do we swing a watch in front of them like the Egyptians did in the old days?

New favorite shirt, Dino Chase, from Paper Clouds Apparel.  So great!
Wearing his new Dino Chase shirt from Paper Clouds Apparel.

Helping Daddy get dinner ready.
Sam: Do you want a hard boiled egg for your salad? It's just like an egg with a shell except it doesn't have a shell!

watching the electric company ❤️

Enjoying a homemade banana split.
Sam: Mom, you should put this chocolate sauce in a jar and sell it at the store! (peanut butter warmed on the stove with a couple GFCF chocolate chips)

Treasure from a Bottle Tree. (His hands look so grown up here!)

After 15 minutes in bed, I went to check on Sam and he was upset, working himself up with his imagination.
Sam: What if Dad doesn't come home? What if he takes a trip to Tennessee for a gig and doesn't want to leave?
What if it's a true story? 
What if it's realistic fiction?!

fave books
Favorite books.

Crack up with a little more Sam Says HERE.


MATS Bootcamp with Lilla Rogers- March (and a Tree Head)

March, Lilla Rogers' Make Art that Sells Bootcamp was all about Jello. Fun, silly, frustrating Jello.
I went with ballerinas.
Ballerinas wearing Jello tutus.
Of course…I mean, what else is there?

After the first week of fun jello designing, we found out we were creating art for bolt fabric.
Bolt fabric has a very limited color palette and I'd been painting away with 100's of colors.
Instead of scrapping everything I'd done, I attempted to make the ballerinas work. I wasn't able to limit my colors enough for traditional printing but it's cool for digital. Hard lesson learned, sometimes I'll have to chuck my prep work out the back door and start over.

Jello is a trademarked name. Jelly is what they call Jello across the pond, so Jelly Dance it is…



Eep. Not bad, not my fave.
Check out 100's of other jiggly Jello/Jelly designs in the Gallery.


Sat down with a sketch book the other night and this came out.
Tree head.
Insect people house on a tree head.

#wip #sketch Will change a lot between here and painted. Trees are the new antlers.

#wip #illustration Started adding tones and little insect people.

Almost done with tone, jumped ahead with a bit of color. Having fun! #wip #illustration will post again when finished

Follow my Instagram to see it when it's finished…I'll post it here too.
It's refreshing, relaxing and really fun to be drawing without a brief, just for myself.


Tyler Nielson Music

Tyler's home page

Whoop whoop! It's done! It's live!
We finished Tyler's website.

You can hear music samples, see his ever-growing song list, check out his calendar and book Tyler right from the site. There's also a really super sweet "about" section. The videos need to be updated (oh my gosh, the last vids are from 2010)- but I'm pretty sure he's working on new videos this week.
Tyler's music page (needs updating)

The client page is pretty cool, each client is linked to their business via logos. Feeling pretty good about this, as this page took me the longest to make. Hopefully his clients love it too.

Tyler's clients page

We had to go with TylerNmusic.com because someone already owns TylerNielson.com. No big surprise though, Nielson is a super common name in parts of the country.

I'm happy with the simplicity. Nothing flashy, as Tyler tends to be laid back. I chose browns and blues because they're his favorite colors.

Tyler's booking page

If you do click over, please let me know if you see any typos or weird mistakes or if anything is broken. And if you're from or know anyone in the Phoenix area, I won't be mad at ya if you pass this along…

Happy first day of Spring!


Sam Says #16

sam says

Getting ready for school.
Sam: What if someone wanted to take a piece of my brain and then throw it to a falcon?

Family picnic and a #run at the #park for Valentine's Day. ❤️

Playing at the park.

Tyler: Sam, did you flush the toilet and wash your hands?
Sam: Yesssssssss.
Tyler checks.
Tyler: SAM!
Sam: Hahahahaahahha, I turned the tables on you!

Pinterest inspired #Valentines done! Happy almost #love and #candy day y'all. ❤️❤️❤️

Before dessert, I asked Sam to tell me a little about his favorite ice cream...

If you're in a reader and/or can't see the video-
Sam: This cat..I mean, this ice cream has some chocolate covered nuts, which I think are meteors but they're pretending to be chocolate tortoises.

Sam "planted" a pecan in the backyard over Christmas vacation. I recently found it while pulling weeds and thought the bugs had made it beautiful. Sam was angry with the bugs for not letting the pecan grow into a tree.
Pulling weeds today, I found the #pecan my son planted over Christmas. The bugs have made it even more beautiful.

Sitting cross-legged at the coffee table, watching a movie.
Sam: UGH! My feet are getting lazy again!
(pins and needles)

See more Sam Says HERE.


Photo Shoot for Tyler's Website


I'm almost done building Tyler's website for his music business. I'm just waiting on a couple testimonials and a sketch from Tyler.

On a bright, overcast day we went to a few locations he'd picked out and I took photos. A quick hike in a preserve, look at that Valley of the Sun pollution!

Quick hike for this one!

This monochrome is my fave...bricks, palm, sexy "blue steel" stare...check.

My fave.

And the rest-


Seedy area, cool flower shop.


Vinyl - Chet Baker is one of Tyler's favorite singers.


We like to call this one, "Where's my car?".

Where's my car?

We're on the rooftop of a mall parking garage. The sky, man, it's rarely overcast like this, it's usually bright blue like Tyler's shirt!


And because he was so scowly and sexy squinty in all of the above, here's proof he can smile too.

Happy :)

I'll be sure to share a link to his site when it goes live....very soon. It's like, 96% done.


MATS Bootcamp with Lilla Rogers - February

As some of you might know, I'm attending Lilla Rogers' Make Art that Sells Bootcamp. It's a bit scary, very exciting and totally fun. There are over 500 of us participating, many are already big names in the industry. It's been great getting to know some of them through our super supportive Facebook group.

This first month, our assignment was a cuckoo clock inspired phone case. Some went straight up Bavarian, while others put their own spin on the idea. Mine ended up hummingbirds and roses! Soon there will be a gallery available on Lilla's site where you can see all the submissions.

King of the Roses for MATS bootcamp

I'm sharing some of my process here...

Started out with dozens of concept sketches, including a skull with a crow plucking out the eyeball. Ummmm...ewwww.

Pretty early on, I decided I liked a birdcage and a bird with a rose crown. This is one of many quick sketches of that idea. This bird kind of reminds me of Nigel.

I brought a few different ideas into Illustrator and Photoshop, started playing around.

Eeks. Wasn't loving this AT ALL...but I continued.

I had to abandon it here, there were a few elements I liked (roses, tail) but I wasn't feeling great about much else.

Hey, how about hummingbirds? Yeah, I love hummingbirds.

I know there are a billion and one ways to use Photoshop and Illustrator. Because I'm self taught (with a lot to learn), I imagine I do everything the long way, haha! But you know what? It makes me happy. I love messing around in each program, especially Illustrator. This is what I did for almost every element in my final design. If anyone knows of a quicker way, maybe with a link to a tutorial, I'd love to check it out!

My final print-

King of the Roses

I took pictures of my phone case and used them to mock up my design-

King of the Roses mockup

And, my final presentation for the gallery. I know this isn't going to please everybody, but it makes me happy.

King of the Roses for MATS bootcamp

I can't wait for next months assignment!
If you're in Bootcamp and have blogged your work, please leave a link in the comments so we can all see what you're doing too! xo
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