Thursday, March 6, 2014

Touch the Trees

This painting just came off the easel last week.
Somewhere under the layers of paint is a bird.  :)
I was thinking of the ups and downs of parenting and life as I painted.
When my kids were little, I'd push them on the swing and tell them to "touch the trees."

Sunday, February 9, 2014

I'm Back, Really I Am!

I'm painting again, and have a few pieces at a new to me store in Geneva- Relux Vintage.
Everything happens for a reason.
I clicked on a few pictures late one night on Facebook.
I soon found myself clicking away, finding kindred spirits & my style of design.
Barnwood, vintage, paints, jewelry, home decor….oh my!
Then I saw they were looking for local artists who liked to repurpose things.
Bleary eyed, I typed an email and attached a few photos of my work.
A few days later, I carried my laptop & a few pieces into the store.
I left, knowing all was meant to be.
Everything happens for a reason.
The job I loved so deeply last November- June, was a one year position.
I knew that going in, but oh was it hard to leave that place.
I floundered through the Fall, creating when I had the courage.
Painting when I had the strength to bare my soul on canvas.
When I begin a piece, I never know where it will take me.
Take this piece which recently sold at Relux Vintage.
There's so much under those flowers.
Raw emotions…through paint and words…
Layers of paint, modeling paste, more paint, more words…over & over again.
I'm going to start taking pics of the process & post the images here.
You can find me on Facebook as well- under Julie Renee.
Why Julie Renee?
It's my given name.
It's me, only me, and not nearly as common as Julie Johnson.
I'm thrilled to be Julie Johnson, but there are way too many Julie Johnsons in this world.
I could fill a page with all of the ways my common name has been a nuisance.
So when I sign my name on a piece, it has been Julie Renee.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What the church could learn from Trader Joes

I'm a frequent flyer at Trader Joes.  It's on my way home from the gym, and makes me happy every time I'm there.  The creative packaging, fresh produce, beautiful market flowers, friendly crew, free samples, great coffee.  I could go on and on.   It's an errand I always love, and I always leave with a happy heart.  It sounds weird for a grocery store.  

It got me thinking.  
Why isn't the church more like Trader Joes?
Both the "c" and the "C."
I'm disgruntled with both these days.

At Trader Joes...
Everyone is welcome.
Smiles and friendly faces are everywhere.
Coffee is terrific.
You can try a sample, and like it or not...and that's ok.
Gorgeous flowers and bits of nature are in abundance.
Creativity, art, and humor is abounding.
Clever marketing.
"Fearless" Flyers introduce new products with ingenuity and amusement.
Help is in every aisle.
Colors of the rainbow at every glimpse.
Offers to assist on every visit.
Recipes and advice is exchanged freely.
No judgement.
Happy sounds.
Positive, flowing energy.

...and the list goes on......

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Some days one just has to go with the flow...
2 a.m. Wake to dog sick on tinfoil
2:15 a.m.  Back to bed after cleanup and time in jammies outside
4:45 a.m.  Turn off alarm.  No way I'm getting up for pilates.
6:15 a.m.  Wake up
6:20 a.m.  Time with Linnea.
6:45 a.m.  Drive Linnea to jazz band
7:05 a.m.  Return, time with Carl and his buddy hanging in the kitchen.
7:20 a.m.  Boys take off for High School
7:35 a.m.  Hop in shower.  Mark wakes girls up.  Get ready.
8:05 a.m.  Mark to train.
8:20 a.m.  Report to 1/2 day sub duty...ELL (Spanish), I have Latin & Swedish background
8:55 a.m.  Sub duty- reassigned to full day of subbing as "Floater"
Spend fifty minutes in each of the following..."floating" from room to room, reading plans as I teach
1.  Help with special needs kindergarten and first graders.
2.  First grade...Calendar and reading
3.  Second grade...ELL...Math
4.  Third grade...happens to be Sofi's classroom. She turns the color of her sweatshirt upon my arrival...bright pink.  Happens to be the job I applied for 5 days before schools started.  It wasn't as awkward as I imagined it might be...
12:40 p.m.  Lunch...race home, take dogs out, make lunch, deal with Halloween party planning...
1:05  p.m.  Head back to school
1.  Fifth grade....Math...Science
2.  Fourth grade...more Math...
3.  Third grade...back to Sofi's class....
3:30 p.m.  Home with Sofi & Linnea, snack, check in, madly clean art room
4:30 p.m.  Tutor in now "clean" art room...just don't open closet
5:00 p.m.  Iz and Carl back from activities
5:05 p.m.  Iz and I take Sofi to soccer, get gas, hang out in mini van with dogs...forgot leashes, fielding calls from Linnea who is making tomato soup from scratch...
6:00 p.m.  Leave soccer and head home, not train as planned, Mark is late...again.
6:10 p.m.  Finish dinner prep, feed kids
6:50 p..m.  Carl & Linnea head to youth group and confirmation...have a ride
7:08 p.m.  Head to train to pick up Mark
7:25 p.m   Reheat dinner, feed Mark, make my dinner (vegan), spend time with girls
8:10  p.m.  Pick up Linnea and friend from confirmation
8:30 p.m.  Help girls get ready for bed, read.
8:55 p.m.  Head back to church to pick up Carl and two friends.
9:15 p.m.  Time with Carl doing Latin while I clean kitchen with a glass of wine
9:45 p.m.  Send Carl to bed and do this crazy timeline of my day.
10:00 p.m.  Mark heads to bed.
10:03 p.m.  I contemplate all that I would and should do before another day...

Sad thing?
Thursdays are a worse time schedule than Wednesdays.
It's All Good....

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Quotable Quotes

Izzy has been into my decorating magazines these days.
She tucks "Flea Market Style" and "Pottery Barn" catalogs into her tote bags.
They go along to soccer games.
In the car to pick up Dad.
Off on quick errands.

Yesterday she wanted to bring one to school.
I told her she could.
She said "It would be much more amusing to read it at recess than listen to the screaming and the drama surrounding me."
Oh she cracks me up.

She's trying to train the dogs after school.
With six people giving directions to them, their behavior isn't the best.

Cody (on the right) never listens.

And often Madison doesn't either.

But she tries.
Izzy and I crafting.

 Making pumpkin anything.

These were pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
No eggs.
No dairy.
No gluten.
No real chocolate.
Amazingly good.

Off to deal with the morning drama.
Two girls getting dressed...
Apparently one has been wearing the others jeans.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My New Cell Phone

Made by Izzy
While I was out at a meeting...
My altoids case turned cell phone

Inside, "Wishes To Mom, Love Izzy"

Six little flowers with beads glued on.
She's quite good with a glue gun.
She asked me this morning if I'd made my wishes yet.
Love this kid.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Patio Update

If you stopped by in early June,
You would have seen a pile of sand and a pile of bricks.
Here's a shot of it today from the iphone.
I pulled a few muscles and may have broken two fingers,
But phase one has been done for a few months now.
The "outdoor kitchen" constructed by Mark is almost done.
I'm contemplating pulling out a brick tomorrow in the second level.
And then the fun would begin again...