Saturday, December 27, 2008

Have your cake and eat it, too!

My cousin, Ellen, is getting married today! This is the cake I drew for her rehearsal dinner invitiations and thank-you cards. It was fun to get a chance to be a part of her special day, aside from being a guest at the wedding. Hope everyone who celebrates Christmas had a merry one! Ours was nice and oh, so busy! Oh, don't forget to vote for your FAVORITE GUM (see the left side of the blog). I added the Poll Gadget to my blog and will conduct random surveys from here on out.... the fun just never ends!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Holly Jolly. Get it? Sending out warm holiday wishes to all the cool cats who stop by my blog (Oh yes, that means you!). Can't hardly believe the holidays are upon us again... My children are nestled all snug in their beds, and I am about to embark on an evening of gift wrapping with my good friend, Dr. Pepper. Here's a toast to all of you for a very wonderful New Year! Cheers!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I draw homes from time to time, and just found out that a couple (including this one) might end up in the Parade of Homes. The builder told me she would save me a book, so when it comes out, I'll scan the page in and blog it. Kind of fun. Well, it has been weird around here without my dog. I lost a day or so this week, and am starting to feel like I cam catching up again. Just finished the piece I am entering in the MNSCBWI/MCBA Illustration competition, so will take that to get it framed tomorrow. I have revised a couple sketches for the book, and will submit them to Alma Little. Man, my blogs are dull! is a joke that I made up all by myself:

Why were the police after the mint jelly?
Because it was on the lam! Get it? Oh, man! That was a good one! hahaha

Thursday, December 18, 2008


It is so hard to say goodbye to a best friend. I met Larry when I was a student in tech school, fell in love with him, and he has lived with us for over 11 years. He was really a great dog. I will miss his crazy charm, it just won't be the same here without him.

Monday, December 15, 2008


This is funny. My oldest daughter saw this doodle (supposed to be Steve Martin....still working things out!) and she said it "needs to be more steamy" and then drew the little green guy beside it. A few minutes later, she brought me the tiny, triangular "JoJo" nametag. I really don't know what any of it means, so thought it might make for a nice Monday blog.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 14, 2008

100% Real Cat

Here is the one and only Gus! I have been blogging sketches of him, and thought you should get a peek at him in living color. This was the best photo, out of about 15. He is always on the move. In other news: my cover sketches and other revised sketches went back to the publisher on Friday, after many trials with my computer (I fear that all my feeble attempts at sending incredibly large image files made it, and that I now appear both overeager and dimwitted. The horror!) Onward and upward! Here's to another week- hopefull less hectic with fewer late nights!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I realized that this poor cat is missing his whiskers! Don't worry, I'll remember them in the book!
Had a nice talk with Karen at Alma Little yesterday. They put my sketches in with the text and now I have some rearranging to do, but the call went well. Luckily, Karen is super nice . I worry too much and want things to go well and for people to be happy...Even though they are patient with me because this is my first book, I still don't want them to think I an a knucklehead.
Next comes the cover, I will start on that as soon as the kids start quiet time (not always quiet, but whatever!). Mailed our Chistmas cards, need to print up thank-you cards for my cousin (I should blog the cake I drew for her), and have a few other irons in the fire. Here's hoping next week will be less crazy, but at least I haven't crashed my minivan into anything yet!

Friday, December 5, 2008


Hey, people! My youngest daughter (who is catching a cold) has been all about her stuffed kitty this week. This is another bloggie from the book sketches. Our van is back from the shop and looks much better, and we got an estimate on replacing our garage door. Whatever. I hope to finish the house I am working on today, have been addressing the envelopes for our Christmas cards, and putting out Christmas decorations this week. I think that they are putting the sketches into the book layout with the text now, so it will be cool to see how it all comes together and find out what I need to change so things flow better. I still can't believe that it is December and that another year is drawing to a close. Have a great weekend!

Monday, December 1, 2008


They say your home is your castle. I damaged part of our castle today with my minivan and am the soul of remorse. They also say most accidents happen within 5 miles of the castle. Very true, in this case of "Tailgate vs. Garage Door." My plea: Absentmindedness Due to Fatigue and "Mom Brain." I am guilty. So guilty. They say accidents happen. This was a minor one in the scheme of things, so I am trying not to let it harsh my mellow.
On a happier note: my sketches were delivered one day before my deadline, I finished the rehearsal dinner invites for my cousin, painted a family portrait for a friend, ordered new postcards for my next mailing campaign, and designed and ordered our family Christmas cards.
Further bulletins as events warrant....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

a moment of silence

My Mom died nine years ago today. Not a day goes by that I don't miss her. It seems like forever. I am thankful that I had such wonderful parents; and that I have such a wonderful sister, husband, daughters, family and friends.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dog Blog

Here is a little bloggie from a sketch from the book. He is my friend Ruth's borzoi, Raleigh, who passed away a few years ago. He was really a cool dog, I always shared my Triscuits with him at lunchtime when I worked at the U.
Well, I really had high hopes to finish everything this weekend and take a nice nap, but I am happy enough that I finished a couple more sketches. Tomorrow will hopefully bring feedback on the last set of sketches I submitted. Since this is a dog blog, our own Larry boy will be going to the vet to get his teeth cleaned tomorrow, so I hope that goes well, too.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Crunch Time

I am sketching my little heart out, and will hopefully submit 5 new sketches to the publisher tomorrow. Whew! I'll try for a more interesting post next time!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Horse Is A Horse

Apologies to Mr. Ed.... and now that song's stuck in my head!
Here is one of the steeds from my seven horse sketch. Happy to report that I did a lot of drawing today, so I am feeling great, a little tired, and am ready to veg. Once again, Karen at Alma Little steered me right, and my artwork is the better for it. Hot dog!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Here is another bit from a sketch for the book. Possibly the cutest horse I have ever drawn. I finished a marathon drawing session yesterday- seven horses! I'll post a bit from that sketch next time. Oh, yes- that is Gus the cat again!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tiny Gus

Well, we survived our trip to Virginia and had a nice time at the wedding. I did not get any sketching in, but did get to read on the plane (2 magazines and a few chapters in a novel). This is our cat, Gus (who is really my sister's cat who is our roomie because her husband has allergies). Gus is going to be in the book! He really is the cutest cat with the longest whiskers I have ever seen. I was able to draw today and finished another sketch, so hope to make more progress tomorrow. I wish I could post everything! Mum's the word...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Random Thoughts

I will be "out of the office" tomorrow- off to a wedding! I am finding myself increasingly busy in November- between a trip, little projects for friends, and the book, of course! The sketches are coming along nicely, and I hope to make some more progress today between loads of laundry and packing for the trip. Sketchbook in hand, and kids in tow, we prepare for our next adventure!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


EEEK! Here is a coloring page I made for my daughter's Halloween party, complete with candy corn! Happy Haunting, Everyone!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Coloring Page No. 2

Here is another coloring page for the kiddies. I sent off 6 sketches to Alma Little today, so I am excited to hear what they think of them. Had a very weird art dream last night: I was drawing in a waiting room somewhere and someone tried to sit on me, so I left and ended up an extra in Tobey Maguire's new 70's-based-peace-love-and-hippie drama. Oh, my website has been freshly updated with a few new illustrations and a better link to my blog. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

If Wishes Were Dolphins...

My almost-four-year-old loves dolphins, and really wishes we had some as pets. It is fun every year to design kid party invitiations, so I'll get these in the mail as soon as I get my hands on some stamps. Went to a meet-up last night- congrats to Bill Talty for winning the MNSCBWI Writer's Mentorship for the coming year, and Sara Matson for selling some stories to Highlights magazine!

Monday, October 20, 2008


Here is the first sketch I am blogging that is part of the book I am working on. This is my stuffed horse, Fred, who is going to make a cameo appearance on page 6. I just realized that I have had Fred for about 30 years now, since I was in kindergarten. Ok, now I feel old..... The book sketches are coming along, and I am also working on my almost-four-year-old's birthday party invites this week. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blue Jays

Here is my other painting that is in Owatonna, brought to you in Technicolor! Well, the Fall Conference was amazing. I had a portfolio review (that went well), and was able to hang out with most excellent friends and meet some e-mail friends in person for the first time. Very cool! I am having fun with my sketching for the book (and have been having some very wacky art dreams).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Three Swans

Here is one of the paintings I have in Owatonna right now, I realized that I hadn't blogged it yet! My storyboard thumbnails have all been approved (yay!), so I have begun sketching. Got to show my Aunt Sandie everything this morning and she seemed to like it so far. My kids are excited for the book to be done so they can each have their very own copy. I was lucky enough to have a Collaborative Studio Day on Saturday with Christina, and it was so great! She gave me all sorts of invaluable tips and advice, like she always does... she is wonderful! Christina's new book, The Wishing Tree, just came out. It is a sweet story and her illustrations are amazing. Well, time to get some drawing in. The Fall Conference is almost here- how exciting!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

MNSCBWI Fall Conference

Just a reminder that the Minnesota SCBWI Fall Conference is almost here! Saturday, October 11, 2008. For more information, please visit here for conference details!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Coloring Page!

After submitting my storyboard thumbnail sketches to the folks at Alma Little this week, I received some great feedback and now have a few sketches to revise. Very cool! As I am still not 100% certain what I should or should not post pertaining to the book, I will instead offer up a coloring page for any kids who might like it. My oldest daughter has trained me to scan in my images before I paint them, so she can color them. I am happy to. Plus, my friend's daughter has been itching for a picture, too. Emma, this one's for you!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday Evening Post

Here I am standing next to my paintings at the gallery in Owatonna. I think I might use my Blue Jays for my next postcard... Hope you are having a nice weekend!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chapter One

After being contacted by Alma Little, sending in sketches, and signing the contract; I am now starting to work on the storyboard and layout for the book. I feel a bit relieved because everyone I have talked to at Alma Little has been extremely nice and helpful. Plus, I can always count on my wonderful art friends for advice and support. The artist's reception for the gallery show was nice, and I did a lot of painting this weekend (in my kitchen and dining room). I am bummed that my mentorship with Christina is almost over, and I am excited for the next mentorship winner because they will get a chance to work with Shawn McCann. So cool.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Hi! This is a tiny bit of one of the paintings I have in a gallery show in Owatonna, MN with CBIG. It is really great to be affiliated with such a nice and talented group of people. I am still at a loss for words as far as illustrating goes, but have been working on gathering my thoughts and questions together to send off to the publisher. Presently, my husband is watching Harry Potter and I am having a hard time concentrating on anything else... Hats off to J.K. Rowling!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Cat Is Out Of The Bag!

First of all, Christina Rodriguez is way too wonderful for words! I just read her blog and all the nice things she! It took me a while to clear off my desk, but I have officially begun working on my very first picture book! I can honestly say that I am winging it, but feel very lucky to have Christina and the rest of the Art Ninjas to lean on, along with all the super nice people at Alma Little (who have been supremely supportive and helpful already). And of course, my family and friends (am I having my Sally Field moment or what!?!). Stay tuned for more exciting updates from Nina's desk....
p.s. Alma Little is an imprint of Elva Resa Publishing, based in St. Paul, Minnesota!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Flower Power!

I had a fun time painting these flowers for my friend's daughter. I like acrylic paints because they are so fun and bright. I feel very lucky, I was asked to illustrate a picture book and just signed the contract. I am excited and nervous all at once. Mostly, I feel very humbled and am still trying to absorb it all. With lots of luck, paper, ink, and paint.... I might just make it.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

MNSCBWI Fall Conference

The registration form for the Minnesota SCBWI Fall Conference came today. I was stunned when I was asked to do the artwork for the conference. I can't wait to go, there are SO many brilliant speakers. Well, time to finish some paintings.... hope you all have a great holiday weekend!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Niece Blog

Hello! No new art to post, but make sure to visit "The Roehls" blog. My sister started up blogging and has darling photos of my cute little niece, Megan. So fun!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Thank goodness it is almost the weekend! I am finally catching up a bit after a frustrating bout of non-internetedness (pretend that made sense)! I finished some sketching, and got both of my paintings off to be framed for the CBIG gallery show next month. This is a bit from one of them. I'll post both paintings soonish with more info about the show. Well, time to rest up- tomorrow will be busy! Have a nice weekend!

Monday, August 11, 2008


We found this photo when we were going through things at my Grandma's house (along with a deck of cards in her bathtub). My Dad and I are drawing together up at Grandma & Poppa's house in Park Rapids. I guess I'm about 4 or so. Too funny. The dust is starting to settle, and I got a chance to draw today for the first time in a long time, so that was nice. Hoping to finish my other painting for the gallery show in Owatonna by the end of the week....

Monday, July 28, 2008


It has been sad as of late, my poor Grandma passed away last Friday. She was 87. She was great at cribbage, loved cats and tv, hid decks of cards around the house because she was addicted to solitaire, and was a really sweet lady.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Good Humor

As I settled in to read my daughter "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" last week (so classic), we found that I had tucked this drawing into it's pages. I have no idea how old I was when I drew it, I'm sure I was probably in elementary school.... I used to love drawing ladies in pretty dresses when I was a kid. Too funny. I also made up my own checks and would try to pay for dinner when we'd go out to Mr. Steak. My daughter colored this herself and is quite proud of it. I think she did a fine job! My glass is half-full right now, with a bit of luck, it might just spill over.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Field Trip

Here is a sketch from the Minnesota SCBWI field trip to the Como Zoo on Saturday. The weather was perfect, and you couldn't have asked for better company! This giraffe was 15' tall!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mini Me

This is the girl from a new picture I have been working on. I think she is me (when I was a kid...) Went on a super fun field trip to the Como Zoo today, I'll post some sketches soonish. Also, found a funny drawing yesterday that I did when I was a kid, I'll post that, too.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The 7th of July

First and foremost, sending Happy Birthday wishes to my dear cousin, Jill, and my favorite Beatle, Ringo Starr! Happy to announce that my little loon is now a permanent fixture on the Minnesota SCBWI website- so cool! I have a couple pieces that I am working on for an upcoming gallery show in Owatonna in September with CBIG, and will be starting on a book dummy soon. Feeling plenty busy, so it will hopefully keep me out of trouble... Hope you are all having a nice summer!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Here is my 3-year-old with her all-time favorite animals. My Mom loved elephants, too, so I guess it must be genetic....

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ode to Summer


cool clear

pouring splashing filling

missing something needing flavor

mixing stirring blending

sweet delicious


I just visited the journal of MN poet Laura Purdie Salas. She is incredibly talented and her blog had the "recipe" for writing a diamante poem, so I gave it a try. Pretty fun. Must be summer, I am so darn thirsty..... Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Respect Your Elders

This came from a conversation Christina and I had not so long ago. Apparently, box elder bugs like to gather outside her home and then perish in unison. Not so cute. So, here is a cute version of these pesky bugs, especially for my friend and mentor, Christina. For those of you who know me (and my affinity for lame puns, or so-called "Nina Jokes"), I am sorry. I just can't help it. I just crack myself up.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I am tired, but so happy! I finished the art for the MNSCBWI Fall Conference tonight! Here is another teensy bit of it. (I have developed a fondness for snails as of late.) I will send this on to our fearless leaders and hope that they like it.... Take it easy, everyone, it is almost Friday again.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Flowers for Algernon

Do any of you remember that book??? I remember reading it in school, but that is about all I remember. I know there was a mouse in the story... This is the mouse from the illustration I am doing for the fall conference. I finished inking it today, and hope to start painting tomorrow. It would be great to go back and read some of my favorite books from when I was a kid in school: Where The Red Fern Grows, The Trumpet Of The Swan, Island Of The Blue Dolphins, War and Peace......

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Here are my girls. Somehow they were still momentarily during lunchtime so I could sketch them. Let's see.... my first postcards have reached family and friends, here's hoping they land on art directors desks, too! I got the go-ahead on the sketch I have for the MNSCBWI fall conference, so I'll finish that one soon. Then, on to my next idea for a series of illustrations featuring the dragon from my previous post.....

Thursday, May 29, 2008


It has been a busy week so far! My postcards arrived (and look nice) so the kids and I are running to the post office for stamps today. Our friends just had a new baby and I painted a frame for them. I think there is a future for this dragon in another project down the road.....

Friday, May 23, 2008

Something New

This is a tiny bit of something new that I am working on. I am waiting to hear if I have the go ahead to move forward on it.... the suspense is killing me! In other news, my postcards have shipped and are somewhere between CA and MN. Having such a nice time working with Christina, and feeling sad that the mentorship will be over in October. Oh, also getting some updates on my website soon, so that will be nice. Best wishes for a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend! I have some carrot bars, scotcheroos, snicker salad, and caramel puffcorn to make tomorrow. Hooray for potlucks and long weekends!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday Morning Post

I feel a bit weird posting without any new art, but I only have ideas rattling around in my head right now, not quite on paper yet. I ordered the postcards for my very first mailing yesterday (many thanks to my husband for helping me, and to Christina for her great advice!). I went with my Cheese Cake illustration- here's hoping the cards turn out great! Found great rates with, so that was awesome! Also, I submitted some samples to a local card company and also to Hallmark cards (thanks to my friend Jen!) so we'll see what happens there. Looking forward to the CBIG meeting on Saturday, thanks for visiting the blog!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Cheese Cake

Here's a new one (little bits of it posted earlier) inspired by my friends, Phil and Amy, who are getting married this summer. I am considering using this for my first postcard mailer.... Hope that everyone is having a great Monday! Kudos to Rachel (the Vet) for starting up her own blog!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Frog Blog

I had a really nice surprise today- I attended a MNSCBWI volunteer meeting and was asked to do the artwork for our upcoming fall conference in October. I am still stunned. Here's hoping I can settle down enough to sleep tonight. Oh, let's all encourage my dear friend, Rachel, to start up her own blog! Looking forward to learning all about riboflavin in Finnish!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Since Mother Nature is being so stingy, I decided to make my own flowers! Oh, I have also had the theme song to "Top Cat" stuck in my head for at least 3 days now....

Friday, April 25, 2008


I had a little idea.... we'll see what comes of it. This was a really great week-- my loon made it's debut on the Minnesota SCBWI website! What a thrill and an honor! I can still hardly believe it! Thanks so much to my fam and friends for all their support! Have a nice weekend!

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Buff Orpington

Buff Orpingtons are really cute. I am also partial to Wyandottes, Plymouth Rocks, Dominiques, and Brahmas. Did you know that a hen lays a fresh egg every 27 hours? And younger hens lay smaller eggs than older hens. This is not a hen, though, it is a rooster. And yes Virginia, that is a tree frog!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ah, Spring!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sweet Dreams

Thank goodness for heavy sleepers! Tonight I flipped on the light in the hallway, sat on my youngest daughter's bed, and did some sketching. I have also been working on some postcard designs to mail to publishers, and looking forward to learning as much as I can at the MNSCBWI Spring Workshop (all about promotional materials!) on April 26th. Happy Birthday to Super Sonic Sara!