been up to some fun…

That’s why I have been so quiet…

I have been working on several new art pieces – doodles, paintings, and mixed media fun that I will be displaying and selling at my first art event.  I have done the little craft shows, but that somehow feels different.

Putting my art out there, to be judged and sold and viewed seems so much more personal than the stuff I have sold at craft shows.  And I think it is…

This is so much more me – not trendy jewelry or cute wreaths that everyone wants.

This is art.  This is my heart.

Oh boy…  can’t back out now!  Space is rented, booth is coming together, and pieces are getting finished up.  Time to rip off the band aid and see how it goes.

I am putting myself out there – what’s the worst that can happen?

I spend the day surrounded by artists and local food, enjoying some people watching and chatting.  Sounds like a pretty good “worst” scenario.

So, if you are around on Sept. 6th, swing by downtown Sun Prairie, WI and say hi!

sun prairie wi art fest cannery square art fair

begin again…

Tonight I did that thing that a lot of people think is totally sad, lame, pathetic, and lonely…

I went to the movies by myself.

For me, however, this often helps me reconnect, redirect, and get inspired.

I am not sure why, but I have always enjoyed going by myself.

Maybe it is because I can see the exact movie I want.  Or, maybe because I get the whole box of Milk Duds to myself.  Maybe it is a little of all of that.  Or maybe, just maybe, it is more.

When I go, I see movies that I know I will like, or love.  Movies that speak to me – comedy, mockumentary, indie flicks, and anything literary-based.  I want to laugh.  I want to cry.  I want to hear new music.  I want a great story. I want to be moved, inspired, and to become absorbed in a moment and leave feeling, well, something.

begin again Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine, Keira Knightly

Tonight I saw Begin Again, which is from the writer of Once.  Now, you have to get over the fact that Once was such a big hit that this time bigger stars, rather than unknowns, were cast.  That didn’t take long, plus I adore Mark Ruffalo so it was pretty easy.  It was filled with the same great music moments, love in trouble, and a mini tour of NYC.  I know it is getting not so hot reviews from the professional critics, but I think it now has a special place in my heart.

Need a new song to listen to?  Check out Keira Knightly on the soundtrack singing “Lost Stars.”  Adam Levine does the song as well, but I feel like hers is the more honest version, true to the movie and the moments that it represented.  It is good – I promise.

Overall, it was not groundbreaking, but I left feeling inspired, wanting to listen to the music, and overall feeling like it was a night well spent.

I definitely enjoyed it, along with a little me time to get inspired.  And that really is what art is, right…

Moving others to feel?

monday motivations

This past weekend was the Art Fair on the Square, along with local artists at the Art Fair off the Square, in downtown Madison.

Saturday Matt and I spent the bulk of the day wandering, almost 3 full times around the square, all while admiring, looking, and studying all different styles, types, and genres of art.

There was sculpture, painting, photography, jewelry, assemblage, and so much more.  It was so inspiring and motivational for me.  Since not everyone lives here or was able to attend, I thought I would share my top favorite artists that I found spoke to me the most, maybe helping you find some motivation and inspiration on this manic Monday in July…

Oak and Balloon by Red Tin Art:

Red Tin Art: Oak and Balloon

I fell in LOVE with the photography of Red Tin Art.  It is beautiful, whimsical, and yet melancholy in some ways.  It really spoke to my heart and my eyes.  I was transfixed by this one and immediately knew the print would be hanging in my house.  It was framed, and hung, in the living room Saturday night before I went to bed.  It truly grabbed me.

Octopod: Musical Nourishment by Tai Taeoalli

Octopod: Musical Nourishment by Tai Taeoalli

We saw Tai’s work last year.  He is completely in his own league.  We first stopped in 2013 because he had taken some pop culture characters and used them in interesting ways.  Owen was completely mesmerized and so were we.  I had to stop back this year again and spent a lot of time just studying the details in his work.  He is fantastic at capturing emotion and detail in every piece he creates.

seventy percent weird by irena siwek

seventy percent weird by irena siwek

A friend of mine told me about irena’s work.  It was beyond belief.  Every pen stroke, every little “doodle” and line.  Every single bit of detail and color was meaningful and deliberate.  I could have stayed in her booth, just deeply gazing into each piece, as there was no way to take in the detail of each piece in a matter of mere moments.

Destiny’s Solo by Clifton Henri

Clifton Henri: Destiny's Solo 2008

There is something majestic about Clifton Henri’s photography.  His photos of people capture feeling and honesty.  His pictures of objects and signage capture history and truth.  He is a Chicago artist, finding beauty in everything from the el to the closed doors of shuttered businesses.  The first image I saw that pulled me in from the street was this one of Destiny.  The art behind her, the tall chair, and her focus are showcased so well in this composition that it is immediately effecting.  Love.

Circular Warblers in Tree Diorama by Dolan Geiman

Circular Warblers in Tree Diprama by Dolan Geiman

This booth was so dimensional and textural that all I wanted to do was reach out touch every piece.  Dolan has pieces he has done for major retail, been in numerous publications, and is really good at branding himself.  This, however, is due to the fact that he does phenomenal and truly interesting work.  I loved it and it challenges me to do more with the layers of my own work.

Overall, I found that walking the art fair was absolutely intoxicating and somewhat creatively overwhelming for me.  Everywhere I looked I saw amazing things that made me think – I wonder if I added resin to my canvases if I would get that effect? or That paper piecing idea would add so much to the canvas on my easel right now…

It opened me up to new uses of color and texture, materials and techniques.  I ran home and wanted to just get to work on about 10 different ideas.  Then I took a breath, sat down, and just made some notes, continued on the project I started last week, and was reminded to pace myself.

I hope that these few bits and links will inspire you today and motivate you to try something new in your art this week as well.


—  Please Note — ALL of this art is copyrighted and I linked to all artists via written text and imagery so that they get their due credit.  Please visit their sites, show them some love, and never EVER steal someone’s art work and post it without doing this.  So not cool.  Respect their work, their time, and their livelihood by being honest and fair to artists.


i am not her

Do not call me by another name, even in jest.

Do not compare me to another person who my work might remind you of.

(Insert any DIY/Foodie/Gardener/Hostess name here… you know who they are.)

I am not her.

I have to  remind myself, as well as others, of this idea of not comparing all the time.

Why do we do this to ourselves and to each other?

Lately it seems there is this odd thing happening online where everyone is trying to imitate, outdo, and grab power from one another.  This is not something that any of us needs to do.  There is room for us all.

I share hobbies and interests with thousands of people, but I am me, not any of them – famous or not. And I am happy with that.  I know who I am, what I am truly passionate about, and what makes me “me.”  It is not the same as any of the others, meaning that we can all play in the sandbox together, work together and collaborate to create amazing things.

Let’s build each other up – not tear each other down.

Let’s love on each other – not hate on each other.

Let’s create beauty – not destroy it.

Realize and accept who you are, what you are good at, and go for it.

Don’t let anyone compare you against someone else and don’t do that to yourself – you will quickly learn you will never live up to that expectation that you have arbitrarily placed on yourself.  That is a lot of pressure that is unattainable and unrealistic, as well as stressful.

Smile.  Embrace your gifts, your joy, your passions.  Dare to be different.

Never be afraid to be yourself!


a simple toolbox makeover

In my mind, a perfect Saturday includes some great garage sales, a trip to a thrift store or two, and, if I am really lucky, a stop off at the antique mall.

This allows me to search for little treasures that others might overlook – worn, old, dirty bits that just need a little love and maybe a coat of paint to be returned to their former glory – a makeover if you will.


On one of these little jaunts I was on with my sister, I happened upon this old wooden toolbox sitting on the floor behind some other goodie.  It was dirty, had a dead spider in it, and looked as if it had seen better days.

I saw it and knew it was coming home with me.

Sunday night, I finally had a chance to work on it and to give it a fresh start at a new life as a little caddy that can be used for anything – as a great silverware and napkin holder for a party, an art supply caddy, a kid’s toy box…  the possibilities are endless.

Overall, it was a super simple and easy process.  Here’s the video on how I did it!

I used the DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint and Creme Wax to do this project.

perception vs. reality

Isn’t it great?  Everyday we post these amazing pictures of everything from our smiling children with the perfect lighting (or filters), our fabulous dinners, and our perfectly clean homes.

The reality is – it is not that way 90% of the time around here – and yet, it is perfect.

Nothing more exemplifies this than the recent magazine issue for Creative Spaces Vol. 3.

My room looks so beautiful, light, and airy… when in reality today it looks like arts and crafts threw up all over it.

And that is just my craft room.

My bathrooms need to be cleaned – desperately.  (I live with three boys.  Three.)

My bed hasn’t been made in several days and the laundry is piling up in my bedroom.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  We won’t discuss the kitchen, the closets, or the “storage room” in the basement.

Anyway, it is important in all aspects of life – not just our digital and home lives, but our personal and emotional lives as well – that there is reality and perception.

Be real.  Accept real.  Perception is too hard to maintain when it is not authentic.

creative spaces volume 3 craft room mess

Dwell in the real.

dinner and some winners!

First, here is a quick and simple recipe – one of my faves – for creating a fast and healthy dinner:

Savory Turkey Burgers!


Then, it is also time to announce the winner from last Monday’s giveaway, as well as the Creative Spaces Vol. 3 giveaway!

Monday Funday is…

monday funday

The Creative Spaces Vol. 3 winner is…

creative spaces winner

Email me at stephenie003(at)frontier(dot)com to claim your prize!

Hope you have a great and happy week!

creative spaces volume 3 and me…

Welcome blog hoppers!!!

Stephenie Hamen Pinnable-panel_CSv3

It’s finally here and I can finally share – my room, crazy as it seems, was picked and featured in Volume 3 of Creative Spaces magazine!!!  I am seriously shocked since it is the furnace room in an old school Wisconsin basement.  It is not some amazing loft space with exposed brick or bright, upper level room with amazing light…  it is my basement complete with the furnace, water heater, and cement floors.

I feel so honored and blessed to have been included in this adventure, so I thought I would share a few behind-the-scenes pics and do a little giveaway!

creative spaces volume 3 papercrafts paper crafts and scrapbooking creating keepsakes

In order to light my dungeon craft room, they packed these 2 huge lights.  They completely transformed and brightened the space – I wish that I had them all of the time.

creative spaces volume 3 papercrafts paper crafts and scrapbooking creating keepsakes

See?  Seriously – look how bright it is?!?!!?  Symoni is having some fun re-arranging and staging all of my jars and junk vintage bits and baubles.  She is a fabulous photographer with an eye for composition, color, and lighting like no other.  It took hours to get these pics since she is so meticulous, so I am beyond grateful she was on the team!

creative spaces volume 3 papercrafts paper crafts and scrapbooking creating keepsakes

Up-close shots of the decoupaged craft table.  I was so excited to see how this one turned out!

Now that you have seen a few shots of my space, make sure you hop on over to all of the other bloggers and check out their posts and spaces as well:

Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking magazine 

Cathe at Just Something I Made

Kristi and Kelli at Lolly Jane

Beckie at Infarrantly Creative

Haeley at Design Improvised

Tracie at Cleverly Inspired

Carola at Boxwood Cottage

Lina at Fancy Frugal Life

Lia at Lia Griffith

Jen at Tatertots & Jello

Jennifer McGuire

Jill Yegerlehner/Jillibean Soup

Amanda Coleman

Jen Gallacher

Becky Olsen

Stephenie Hamen <—— You are here

Jodi Sanford

Elle Price/Elle’s Studio

Mary-Ann Maldonado

Michelle Hill

Sherry Mendoza

We R Memory Keepers

Graphic 45

Cosmo Cricket

Fancy Pants Designs

Simple Stories

Michelle at Chalkboard Blue

Stacy Cohen


Hazel & Ruby

Finally, leave a comment here about your dream creative space and you will be entered for a chance to win your own copy of Creative Spaces Vol. 3 and maybe a few additional organizational goodies!  Then hop on over to the next blog on the list!

Thanks for stopping by and have fun hopping!

quick asparagus and egg salad

I am really trying hard to eat better in my battle against fibro, so I am trying all sorts of new recipes and ideas.

I am eating gluten and dairy free, and, as of today, I am also cutting alcohol out as well…

This means my focus is on fruits, veggies, protein, and healthy fats.

No sugar.  No soda.  No dessert.

I might get a bit cranky – we shall see.

Anyway, here is a super quick and simple salad that I am currently in love with.  I hope you enjoy it!