Monday, October 31, 2011

The Nesting Place Giveaway!

I would like to officially give a warm welcome to all of you Nesting Place readers! I am so excited to introduce you to my art and give you the chance to win some of it!

I create inspirational art for the home in several categories: Scripture, General Inspiration, Baby and Child, Family Roles, Occupational Keepsakes, and Personalized Art.

You are sure to find something unique and special for someone in your life!

My art is created in fine art prints as well as cafe mounts.

In addition to being licensed by DEMDACO, my work is also licensed by Avalanche Publishing, the sister company of LANG & I have a 2012 calendar available for daily encouragement next year!

You can also find beautiful note card and postcard sets in my stationery section.

And, lastly I have teamed up with jeweler Lori Patton to create a gorgeous line of photo lockets.

5 blessed winners will each receive
one 8x10 fine art print of their choice!

1. Go "like" me on my facebook page.
2. On my facebook wall, please post which print is your absolute favorite.
3. For extra entries blog, twitter, or facebook about the giveaway & let me know you have on my facebook wall in an additional post.
4. For another extra entry buy something from my shop & let me know you did by posting it on my facebook page.

Please leave comments only on my Facebook page.

{Giveaway entries are open until midnight 11.03.11 & open to domestic shipping addresses only. Winners will be announced Saturday, 11.05.11.}

But WAIT, there's another BONUS!

From now through 11.08.11 I will also be offering
on ANY purchase in my shop*!
{*again, domestic shipping only}

just enter NESTER in the coupon code section of my ETSY checkout*
{*coupon must be redeemed at time of purchase}

Thanks...have fun... & good luck! OH & be sure to check out the other fabulous giveaways through the!

Grace & Peace,

Sunday, October 30, 2011

sweet treats

My little pumpkin-poos is wishing you all some sweet treats tomorrow! Have fun & stay safe & warm!

Grace & Peace,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

FALL 2011 Arts & Craft Show Schedule

It's that time of year! Here is my Fall Arts & Crafts show schedule:

Saturday, 11-5-11 from 9:30 to 3:30 :
Oswego High School
4250 State Route 71 Oswego, IL 60543
A brand new show for me, I have heard it's a good one!

Friday, 11-11-11 from 5-10 & Saturday, 11-12-11 from 9-4:
Frost & Friends
Cliffbreakers Riverside Resort
700 West Riverside Blvd
Rockford, IL 61103
This is the show in my home town, which I do with the fabulous Lisa Frost, another DEMDACO artist. If you want a fun girls night out and exciting shopping experience, this is the place for you!

Saturday, 11-26-11 from 9-4 & Sunday, 11-27-11 from 10-2:
Marmion Academy
1000 Butterfield Road
Aurora, IL 60502
A very nice arts and craft show Thanksgiving weekend. They sell Christmas trees nearby too!

Friday, 12-2-11 from 11-9; Saturday, 12-3-11 from 9-6; Sunday, 12-4-11 from 10-5:
31st Annual Lambs Farm Holiday Lights
Arlington Park Racecourse
2200 West Euclid Ave.
Arlington Heights, IL 60008
Another new show I have decided to do. Thousands attend! I am very excited and nervous at the same time... all I can say is inventory.

At the shows I will have a limited supply of my DEMDACO line: crosses and wall art plaques, all signed by me!

I will also have my signed 2012 wall calendars: a GREAT gift for Christmas.

Some lockets you can see IN PERSON so that you can see how gorgeous these really art. And, of course, I will have all of my prints, frames, and stationery products.

I hope to see some of you there! I love doing these shows, as it gives me the opportunity to meet my customers and hear the encouraging stories of how my art has touched lives.

Grace & Peace,

Monday, October 24, 2011

Behind the Scenes: Spiritual Armor : Ephesians 6

Almost a year ago, a customer of mine requested that I create Ephesians 6, the chapter about spiritual warfare, for him in my Life Verse style. I wrote it on my "to do" list, thinking that would be a very unique piece to create. The problem remained, where on earth would I get authentic looking armor to create such a cool piece?

Fast forward to this past summer when I put out the call on Facebook ... I got lots of advice as to where to pick up some local armor and my best lead came from my Tyndale coworker's wife {whose hubby creates some awesome covers btw} ... I cannot believe I did not think of that. For, you see when we are creating fiction covers at Tyndale we sometimes need to rent costumes for those covers {I just did a photo shoot last Tuesday for a fiction book I am working on!}

So, my art director's advice was to go to a little shop in the burbs called Kult of Athena, where the owners of the shop were experts at armor {and any type of weapons you may be looking for in fact}. The shop rents out to both Disney and Hollywood! He also told me to be sure to take Sam & my favorite little mister, as they would LOVE the store {boy, was he right!}.

{art available here}

So, I packed up the camera gear and we took a family field trip back to medieval and roman times at Kult of Athena. To date this has been one of the most interesting photo shoots I have done {maybe besides my eagle shots which were just truly awe inspiring}.

After I briefly explained to the store owner how I wanted to visually illustrate the Ephesians 6 passage, he immediately knew exactly what I was looking for. He said for that New Testament era the high Roman guard armor would be authentic to what I need and what Paul would have been referring to in his passage.

My knight in shining armor {aka my hubbalicious} was more than willing to pose for this shoot. He graciously suited up in all the layers (a wool tunic & all) in about 90 degree heat to pose for me. As we previewed the images, he would state how it "needed to look tougher"... oh so fun to get a man's perspective!

I was really awestruck when viewing the pieces of armor in light of thinking about Paul's instructions on how we ought to daily suit up to fight the spiritual battle.

put on the full armor of God
{every piece to be fully covered}

the belt of truth
{which holds everything together in its proper place}

the breastplate of righteousness
{Jesus' righteousness covering our hearts}

your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
{walk your talk, go & share, be active}

take up the shield of faith
{which extinguishes the fiery arrows of attack}

the helmet of salvation
{protects our mind and thoughts}

the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
{the only offensive piece with which to attack with:
the powerful word of God}

The piece that shocked me most was the shield. I guess I always just pictured a shield that you would carry around that covers your chest area, but they were saying at the shop that the shields were HUGE {as you can see from the proportions of my images} and were placed on the ground & then you were almost completely covered. So interesting to think of faith in light of that shield.

I hope I utilize my spiritual armor in a more powerful way in light of this passage.

Grace & Peace,

Friday, October 21, 2011

sisters {Downers Grove Photograhpy}

Rock Star Sisters
{that is what I like to call this shot}
Taken in downtown Hinsdale way back in August, in between beautiful early evening light and a crazy downpour.

Meet Sam's cousin's family.

You know, one of those families you totally look up to in every possible way? Well, yes, they are the ones and I am so blessed to have them as family. They have 4 beautiful girls, and I believe they were all born between 18 and 21 months of one another. They are now teens and tweens and some of THE sweetest girls I know. As Sam would say, "Sharpen your samurai sword Mo!"

The Dad & Mom met at U of I and actually had their reception on campus!
{The first Chen family event I ever attended in fact!}

Love those girls catching some air!

And, here are the soft portraits of the girls.
I have SO MANY more good ones...
for another post someday.

Last but not least, my sisters art created just for them. If my girls grow up to be this close, I will be a very happy mama.

If you have a sweet shot of your girls, I would love to create a custom design just for you! Contact me at

Grace & Peace,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Red Couch Shoot Take 1 {Downers Grove Photography}

Last Saturday amidst the bright sun and fierce wind {on & off}, I had the extreme pleasure of photographing 8 families on my red couch. The above image is literally one of the first clicks of their session and their immediate playfulness and excitement made for a very fun shoot.

This idea I stole from one of my college friends who is also a wonderful photographer!

I think their dad said this is the real them.

I had to get in the bare feet somehow.

This is some of my custom Life Verse Design artwork,
created just for the beautiful sisters.

Here is the front side of the 5x7 Christmas card I just "whipped up" for them.

And, here is the backside of the Christmas card. I wanted to showcase the sisters as well as make it so that people can display it year round in a 5x7 frame if they would like.

All of my Christmas card designs come double sided including envelopes and they are GORGEOUS. One of my customers from last year said she had never received so many compliments and actually had to order more to send out at the last minute because people were talking!

More Christmas card designs coming soon! Even if I have not photographed your family, you can send me your high res images for me to work with as long as you have photographer permission/release and I would love to create your unique cards.

More red couch final photos coming soon too for all of you other 7 families waiting to see yours.

ok, I am off to edit more....

Grace & Peace,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Perfection. {Downers Grove Photography}

Oh, how I debated the title of this blog entry. Titles have power, you know... I have learned that from my book design over the years. I toyed with "My weakness", "There's just too many", "Autumn Light", "Cantigny, I love you"... etc... etc...

Why you might wonder? Well, it is because one of my weaknesses as a photographer is that I take way too many photos and then I cannot bear to throw the cream of the crop away, therefore lengthening my editing time, but hey, families love it and how can I not share their magic with them?!

I then decided on the title "Perfection". It was the perfect autumn late afternoon light with the perfect family at the perfect location {yes, Cantigny, I DO love you... the park is where I also shot these and these!}

Meet Sara and her lovely family. I believe I have mentioned this before on this blog, but Sara is my first ever internet friend whom I met through finding her work on Etsy! I contacted her and quickly found out that she lives 2 towns over and has kids the same ages of my own. You will LOVE her work... fresh, modern, adorable personalized items for kids, heck, even for adults!

When she asked me to photograph her family, it was an easy decision, I mean, LOOK AT THEM!

At this point I believe my kids were running up and down the other side of the grove with the whoopie cushion as Emma and Jack cracked some real smiles.

Of course, I could not decide my favorite {every time I got to the next image, I thought, "This is the ONE!"} So, if you cannot decide on just one image to print as a fine art piece for your home, just combine them into one gorgeous design!

More decisions... color or classic black & white?!

And, here are some Sara inspired clean & contemporary 10x20 canvases or cafe mounts, personalizing the art for the children.


OH! I still have 3 openings for my Red Couch Photo Session this Saturday:
you can choose from 10:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. or 2:30 p.m.
if you want some magical and memorable shots of your perfect family too!

Grace & Peace,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Behind the Scenes: Called to be Faithful

"God has not called me to be successful.
He's called me to be faithful."
–Mother Teresa

God is right now, as gently as He can, beating this phrase over my head. This powerful statement by Mother Teresa has been written in the notes of my Bible for years. I obviously had heard a sermon in which the pastor used the quote and it hit me like lightening. I quickly wrote it down so I would not forget it. I think the quote is especially powerful because of who spoke it: a woman who in the world's eyes had no real "success" and yet, she gave her life to help minister to the needs of others, faithful till the end. The power of those words are fresh to me in a new way today.

You see, I am a perfectionist, a workaholic, and I really like doing things successfully... no matter what it is. Whether it is designing a book for Tyndale House Publishers, creating new art for DEMDACO, or potty training a child, I like to do it "right and good". And, in the midst of life, I continue to compare myself to more "successful" artists or moms or Christians, thus battling discouragement on a rotating basis. ugh!

Currently I am in an AWESOME Bible study. We are reading the book Sacred Parenting which is the reason this quote has become fresh in my life once again. It is not the typical "how-to-do-it" parenting book. Rather, he focuses in on how God uses parenting to shape us, refine us, grow us, and make us more holy. It has made me take a deeper look at my own spiritual life in light of raising my children. Through the readings, I keep thinking of the Scripture which says,

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!
You have been faithful with a few things;
I will put you in charge of many things.
Come and share your master’s happiness!’

–Matthew 25:21 NIV

I chose the image of the Queen Anne's Lace to represent all of the little things we have been given or entrusted with, which we are called to be faithful in. It is all the little things in life that when connected in their beauty create a life that is rich in "success". But, don't be fooled. This "success" may not at all look like what the world tells us is "success".

What are the little things God has called you to be faithful in? Your children? Your spouse? A friendship? Ministry? Work? Giving? Worship? Following a dream?

And, are you being faithful to those things for His glory, not your own? For you see, it is not all about us. It is all about Jesus. His kingdom, His will, His love, His glory.

May this art and quote bring to life once again freedom and perseverance to press on in whatever it is that He has called you to.

Grace & Peace,

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Kids on the red couch {Downers Grove Photography}

Here are my kiddos on the red couch. They thought it was the funniest thing to load the couch into our Sienna. They asked if the van could be like that all the time. I took them on their "limo ride" around the parking lot & they were giddy.

For our photo session, I wanted to capture their personalities of course, as well as some of their favorite things they do on the red couch, which for my kids would be snuggle with their loved ones and read their favorite books!

Props are always fun to make a photo more unique and capture a memory you have of your children at that moment. Do not forget those things while you are taking photos: what is their favorite outfit? toy? book? hair style? jammies?

I still have openings for next week's red couch photo session! If you or a friend are looking for really unique photos, please contact me! {See details in the previous post}

Grace & Peace,