easter greetings


fancy an itty bitty book swap?

just posted sign-ups in our little group on facebook.  if  you are so inclined & would like to join in on this fun book collaborative, please give me a shout out here & i’ll fill you in on the whole itty bitty scoop.  having a facebook account, while not entirely essential, would be a plus, as our group there is private and by invitation only.  we have had, however, peeps join in on the fun who aren’t on facebook… we just touch base via email.  that has worked out just fine in the past.  please do think about it…sign-ups end april 24, 2011.  mail-by deadline is july 8, 2011.  have a super sunday! 🙂

one last ode to winter & then bring on spring!

  a lil book collaborative that i hosted in the facebook group.  the theme, as you can see, is MITTEN.  i mailed out the books a couple of days ago and hopefully they have all reached their intended recipients safely.  it was another fun book.  🙂

art heals

the sadness of letting go our beloved TJ still lingers… but, as they say, life (must) goes on.  we have to take comfort knowing that we did the right,  most loving and kind thing for him.  he’s not suffering any longer now and i’d like to think that he is still with us in spirit.  it will take some time getting used to not seeing him around… but time heals…

and for me, art does too.  i have been more than ever wanting to draw and paint what i am feeling/ experiencing.  i just have to make a more concerted effort to do so.  otherwise, i will continue to be the stressed out, uber cranky yiatch that i’ve been lately.  & omg, i so do not want to live my life like that.  no friggin way.

lately, i’ve been admiring the fabulous works of teesha moore and tessa mcsorley.  i revisited teesha moore’s work when i recently stumbled upon many of her youtube vids on art journaling.  i had forgotten that she really pioneered many techniques/trends that you often see (& perhaps take for granted) now in the world of art journalling.  i have an even better appreciation for her work after viewing her videos.  

i came across tessa mcsorley’s work also by accident.  and her wonderful sketches of girls and forest animals really struck a chord with me.  i really love that she takes her artwork straight from her sketchbooks & then turns them into functional art via  silkprinting onto tee-shirts, bags, small posters, etc.  i totally LOVE that.

another bit of news that is lighting a spark under me to create more  is that i just learned that my sketchbook for the sketchbook project is being viewed! wow, how’s that for a boost to the ol’ morale, eh? 

so, i am hoping that in the days to come, i will be more diligent in my art-making & i’ll be sharing more of creations here… & i am really loving the idea of functional art… so who knows, i might dream up something along those lines 🙂

slowly but surely, i will get out of this funk i’m finding myself in and make the art that i know is within me…

& is waiting ever so patiently to come out.

little miss darling

i was inspired by seeing the shirley temple dvd commercials recently. & it brought back fond memories of watching her old flicks growing up.  while i created this yesterday, this song kept playing in my head 🙂

“The Good Ship Lollipop”
music by R. Whiting and words by S. Clare

  I’ve thrown away my toys
Even my drum and train.
I wanna make some noise
With real live aeroplanes.
Some day I’m going to fly.
I’ll be a pilot too.
And when I do, how would you
Like to be my crew…

On the good ship lollipop.
Its a sweet trip to a candy shop
Where bon-bons play
On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay.

Lemonade stands everywhere.
Crackerjack bands fill the air.
And there you are
Happy landing on a chocolate bar.

See the sugar bowl do the tootsie roll
With the big bad devils food cake.
If you eat too much ooh ooh
You’ll awake with a tummy ache.

On the good ship lollipop
Its a night trip into bed you hop
And dream away
On the good ship lollipop.

i found a vid of shirley temple actually singing this tune in the old flick, bright eyes… & was a bit disturbed to read people’s comments saying how “perverted” this was…  OMG.  people need to get their heads out of the gutter.  that flick came out in 1934 and times were different back then.  a WHOLE lot different.  it kinda makes me mad that peeps would taint that sweet & innocent film with their ludicrous comments & jaded, perverted 2011 eyes.  oy vay… 


anyway, i had fun drawing this & then digitally coloring it… i am planning on making some postcards with this for a valentine swap i’m in (hosted by my pal, lisa kettell)  as well as creating atcs and incorporating it in an up-coming mini-zine i’m working on.  since having participated in the sketchbook project,  i have been enjoying drawing again, especially of these little girls that i’ve been fond of creating lately.  

last summer i experiemented on drawing figures just for fun.  it was just a little break from drawing “realistically”, which is what i tend to do when it comes to drawing.  i had never really tried to “illustrate” before.  but one summer day, while i waited for the hub in the car, i got my lil moleskine out & my micron pen and started doodling away.  & before i knew it, i started drawing these little girls in different outfits.  i didn’t show anyone, not even the hub. mainly bec. they were a bit rough and really studies to my way of thinking.  last thanskgiving time, though,  when i visited my bff, i showed my crude illustrations to her and she liked them instantly.  well, i didn’t do anymore with them until i got in gear for completing my sketchbook project during christmas break.  i decided to incorporate them in my book & found it quite fun to add my own drawings to the book.  so since then i have continued to draw these little girlies 🙂  i am loving how i’ve gotten to draw them more and more lately.  pretty soon, i will have a small army of these little darlings, hehehe…  i’m thinking a series of drawings, paintings or zines may be in order… hmmmmm, will see how it goes, especially with my wonky *ugh* work schedule….        

speaking of zines… i had a few comments on my OWOH post below (which btw i am just now getting to read them all… & wowza!! i am super overwhelmed with all the wonderful, kind words… i know i keep saying this, but  i will take an hour or two later today to get back to as many bloggers that i can!  it’s just that i am so easily sidetracked by about 101 kajillion other things around here…never a dull moment, let me tell ya!)… basically, zines are short for “fanzine or magazine” and are  usually handmade and self-published works on any given topic imaginable…  a couple years ago, i started a zine project that i called “follow your bliss” (surprise, surprise :)) but i have yet to see that off the ground… but i am hoping that one day i will get that out there.  anyway, i got back into making mini-zines last summer when i got involved in some swap fun on swap-bot.  mini-zines, as opposed to a full-size zine (which my follow your bliss zine was to be) are typically made out of one sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper.  they are referred to as “1/8th” sized zines.  so long story short, i joined a few mini-zine swaps on swap-bot and pretty much was hooked.  i find mini-zines so very  quick and easy to crank out.  i think to date, i have somewhere in the range of 10-12…& currently, two more are in the works, which i may (or may not) include in the OWOH giveaway… hope this answered some of your questions about zines. 

the other question i wanted to address is why my blog is called “firstborn” and also why you might see that  i often refer to myself as such is really because of my parents.  they still call me that to this day. LOL no joke.  so being a cheeky little daughter, i dubbed my blog name that, all in the honor of my parents. 

alright,  i think i haven’t written a long blog post such as this one in a very long time.  well, i suppose i was in a blog-chatty mood.  but now, i have chores and other such things to do before the day is over!  but this afternoon, i hope to go blog-hopping & return all the kindness to as many of as i can!  xo mary ann   



(disclaimer:  lengthy post follows, read at your discretion 🙂 )

2/18/11 UPDATE:  please bear with me… having a rough time offline with some work-related stuff.  haven’t been able to get to picking the 10 lucky winners yet.  have another hectic day at work today, but i plan to let you know who random.org has selected very soon!  have a good day.  i am hoping for that too 🙂

2/17/11 UPDATE:  i can hardly believe that the magic OWOH ride has come to an end.  many thanks to YOU all for visiting my humble lil blog & for your lovely comments.  i have a day filled with meetings at school today, but i promise i will announce the winners of my OWOH giveaway once i get home this afternoon (cst).  so please bear with me & if luck will have it, perhaps i will be contacting  YOU later with the good news of WINNING!  have a super day! xo mary ann 🙂

it’s that time of year again… & it’s the last year too….OWOH ! (allons-y, btw means “let’s go” & it is from the doctor who series, specifically, the tenth doctor…)as  i mentioned in last post, i decided to participate as it is after all  the last chance to partake in this wonderful blog event, which was/is created & superbly organized by lisa swifka.  she is the amazing mastermind behind this incredible blog event since its inception 5 years ago. 

beginning at the stroke of midnight on january 31st, creative bloggers everywhere  the world over will discover, connect and share their heART with other bloggers.  i, along with others, will welcome fellow bloggers into our creative world, share glimpses of what we do & who we’re all about and offer a little complimentary giftie or two, all in the name of this beautiful blogwide event.     

if you have just stumbled upon my blog or never heard of OWOH, just click on the links highlighted to get the full scoop.  lisa swifka spells it all out for those new to OWOH.   

also, for those who may be a new visitor to my bloggy, i’m mary ann 🙂 and i have been blogging since 2006…in fact, my blogoversary is february 26.  back then,  i was a rather cranky, overworked speech therapist working in a hectic hospital setting. and i turned to blogging to try to get ART (aka my sanity) back into my life again.  i’ve always been a crafty sort since i was a  lil girl.  but over the years, ART sort of took a backseat and non-ART priorities took precedence during much, if not all, my waking hours.  that all changed, (thank goodness!!)  when i got into blogging.  those early blogging days really were the impetus that made me realize how essential having art be an integral part of my daily life is AND also helped shaped me into the artist who i’ve become today.   it was thru blogging where i happily & gratefully came into contact with the amazing online art community  and connect with countless kindred creative souls, many of whom i call my art circle of friends.   to borrow a quote, art is not a thing.  it is a way. 

i enjoy most forms of art: watercolor, painting, drawing, collaging, mixed media, sculpture/art assemblage, making zines & handmade books & my latest passion, welding 🙂

i also love to sew, especially hand-stitching & embroidering, dabbling in crude jewelry-making and crocheting. oh yeh, did i mention, yoga?  that is something i’m into too (though, i must confess that my yoga practice has been sporadic of late with what my current work schedule is… but hopefully, i will get back into a more regular routine again very soon)…    anyone who (really, truly) knows me, knows that i am always making something, be it for a swap, art class or just because.  art, simply said, is without question, as vital as breathing to me.  when i get cut off from “art-ing”  for some length of time, i start to get the “shakes” & feel stifled as well as uber CRANKY.  my art time is precious to me…sacred and highly prized. 

alright… that’s enough yadda yadda about me. i really appreciate anyone who takes the time to stop by my bloggy.  thank you so much!!  i will make every effort, time/schedule permitting, during OWOH to return the kindness & pay a visit to as many of your bloggies as i can.    

as in previous years, i have been known to offer up a number of goodies.  this year, the final OWOH, will be no different.  so without further ado, here are the fab goodies up for grab:


an extra copy of an itty bitty book collaborative that i had hosted last spring with some art pals in the paper whimsy ning group.  this was submitted to cloth paper scissors for their call for handmade books… sadly, ours did not make the cut… so i decided to let this one go.  the slideshow below will show you the pages inside…


chunky atc block w/ hanger


4×4 mixed media collage on stretched canvas.


handmade recipe book with pockets and blank recipe cards…

plus bonus atc on front cover 🙂


another handmade recipe book (like #4 above)… this & the one above were extra favor books i made last christmas time when my sister and i had hosted a cookie swap party.  this was a big hit with our guests.


a set of six 1-inch magnets that i made using my button maker machine.


a set of six 1-inch pin-back buttons (or badges), also made from my button maker machine 🙂


a crotched cuff i made last summer, using two different fibers (super soft cotton yarn made in italy, i believe, and rayon crochet thread… i cannot find the labels of either fibre rolls but i believe that that’s what i used… also, my wrist size is on the small size, so  i made this cuff bigger, maybe 7 or 7.5 inches long with a button clasp in the hopes of accomodating most people ) 


an owl brooch/pin made from felt… 


a handbound copy of my mini-zines, approximately 10-12 issues… the cover may be different, as this one was actually given away… but rest assured, i have my originals 🙂

a peek inside…

i chose these mainly because i have these on hand and also, they are all on the lighter side…which will be a good thing come time to mailing…

so if there is anything here that i’ve posted of interest to you, please let me know in the comments.  and also, please don’t forget to include your name and contact info, in case you end up being one of the lucky winners!  at the end of OWOH on february 17th, i plan on using the random number generator to select my 10 lucky peeps…

oh yes, almost forgot, this is open to any blogger with a current & active blog… that is OWOH rules 🙂

again, many thanks for stopping by! & a thousand thanks to lisa swifka for making this all possible!   happy OWOH!! & bonne chance 🙂 mary ann xo

snowy MLK day

it’s snowy here on this monday MLK day… & i whipped up this lil sketch this morning and then digitally colored in PSE.  i have been drawing these lil girlie illios lately and so it’s no wonder that another one of them popped up in this sketch 🙂

oh well, off to the store to get some stuff before the big snow really comes down!  enjoy your day and my lil cuppa warm wishes! xo mary ann