Thursday, July 12, 2018

Opening night at The Left Bank - This Friday the 13th!

I love that The Left Bank Shop and Gallery sends out little reminders about upcoming special exhibits. Mine's currently on the fridge, so I don't forget! 

Join in the fun for the opening night and you'll enjoy music, refreshments, art, and meet these creative couples for yourself! 

The Left Bank Shop and Gallery
McGregor, IA 
Friday, July 13th, 6-8PM

Also, if you missed out on the last opening night, you can have a sneak peek at the fun that takes place on an opening night over on my blog post HERE: New Season New Art. It's always fun, promise! So, be sure to make it over to The Left Bank this Friday, July 13th, from 6-8 PM for the opening reception of "Creative Couples" ---- an exhibit featuring couples who create artwork in and around NE Iowa! 


ps Didn't get a reminder and want one? Stop in and sign up at the gallery and I'm sure they'd be happy to send one to you in the future, too. In the meantime--you can consider this post your reminder. :) 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Buying art is an investment in your home, your health, and your heart. :) 

When new friends visit our home for the first time, they get a tour of the rooms AND all of the art on the walls (if they want). Being an artist, many people initially wonder if the work throughout my home is mine or created by other artists. The answer is: both! 

I am always rotating my own artwork between various galleries, exhibits, and have a few pieces that are in my own "permanent collection." Over the years, I have also fallen-in-love with several other pieces and collected from other artists. I genuinely feel a connection to the artwork on my walls and therefore to the people who created it, too. If you've never purchased an original piece, try it! You'll be surprised by what even a small piece of art can do for your soul. 

Today, I'm sharing my most recent art purchase, "Purple Iris" by Kris Grover - Luna Fiber Artist, Co. 

I was immediately drawn to this piece. I didn't buy it right away and kept thinking about it. When I saw that Kris was about to take this original piece to another show I jumped on it and purchased it up for own home. (So happy it's mine!)

I love Kris's torn paper collages for their vivid colors and attention to detail and I feel like they have a similar whimsical quality to my own art. I enjoy looking at this darling piece and it brightens my mood on a daily basis! 

When people say they don't have any more wall space, I feel their pain... BUT that doesn't stop me from finding the perfect location for something that speaks to my heart. Sometimes you just have to get creative. Luckily, the music notes hiding in Purple Irises encouraged me to redecorate the top of our piano. ♥ Thanks for making beautiful work, Kris G! 

Shop Local

Here are a few local places to SHOP ART:

Guttenberg Gallery - Guttenberg, IA

The Turkey River Mall - Elkader, IA (Find me on the third floor)

Art in the Park Fine Art Festival is set for August 18th and 19th in Founders' Park, Elkader, IA! You can find me, Kris, and many more local and regional artists selling a variety of media and styles of artwork, and you get to meet the artist, too! 

cheers ♥

Where's your favorite place to shop ART?!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!

E and I are so lucky we get to do life with this guy right here! Z, you are the best partner and dad I could have ever dreamt of! I am so genuinely grateful for all you do for us, and with us, on a daily basis. We love you and hope you know how much we appreciate you! 

I'd also like to say a special Happy Father's Day to my dad (E's PawPaw), and my dad-in-law (E's Papa Doc) who have been amazing dads to both Zach and I and who are amazing grandpas to our little one! Not only does E have awesome grandpas, she also has two amazing GREAT grandpas and a few up in heaven, too. 

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads and father figures out there today, and every day! 

We love you, DADS! Thanks for making our lives easier, fuller, and definitely more fun! 


Friday, June 15, 2018


Sometimes I panic.

It never fails that every time I feel like I'm getting things "under control" and that I have a handle on parenthood/career/family/life, something happens and the "crap" hits the fan. When crap hits the fan (literally or metaphorically), I feel like a total failure... and that sucks. 

Yesterday, five minutes before I needed to leave for a meeting with the Clayton County Artists, our local artist group, I was playing outside with Emmajean and "crap hit the fan". I had turned around for one second and my two-year-old had a broken off mushroom and had it in her hand. PANICKED, I grabbed the mushroom and swiped her mouth to make sure there was none in her mouth. I quickly searched the ground. I saw a broken off piece on the ground, but it didn't complete the broken mushroom in her hand. My heart sank. I asked her if she ate the mushroom and she said, "No!" I asked, "Did you lick the mushroom?" She said, "No." 

Could she have eaten a small portion of this mushroom? Is she old enough to know how to lie? Would putting it in her mouth cause any harm in itself? Was I going to rush her to the emergency room for picking up a mushroom? Am I a crazy mom overreacting? 

I calmed myself (as much as possible). We went inside, washed hands, and I immediately messaged images and the situation to a few close friends who work with DNR. They were great and let me know that I needed to watch her for any signs of discomfort for the next 30 minutes to four hours, but that she was probably fine. The mushroom didn't look like one of the deadly ones, but it definitely didn't look like an edible one either. I cringe to even use the word "deadly" in the same post where I'm talking about my little one. 

After the air had calmed, I leaned down one more time and asked Emmajean if she had eaten the mushroom and she said, "No, I kicked it!" I do believe she was telling the truth. She stuck to her story, so I tried to remain calm and pray for the best. 

Knowing I was the one hosting and supposed to present at the artist meeting, I loaded my things into the van and left E her with Grandmommy and Grandpa. If there was the slightest sign that was something wrong, they would call me and we would take her to the emergency room. 

Let me tell you, it was not the best feeling driving away...things like: failure, bad mom, how could I have let it happen, fear, all flooded my mind. 

As I got closer to G's Closet and Gallery, where we were having our meeting, the tears began to flood my eyes. I carried in my things through stifled sobs and my friends in the artist group comforted me. Several of them shared their own stories and I didn't feel like such a failure anymore. We continued with the meeting, knowing I would leave if called. 

I messaged Zach about half an hour into the meeting and baby girl was acting totally normal. I have to think she was telling me the truth and didn't eat any of that darn mushroom. 

The meeting wrapped up, I got home, and still no signs of discomfort. Four hours later we were in the clear and all slept easy. 

It's days like yesterday that I'm the hardest on myself. It's also days like yesterday that remind me that I can't control everything and accidents happen to everyone. I am so glad I caught her immediately, that she was able to tell me she didn't eat the mushroom, and that I have such an amazing network of friends and family who support and care about us. 

Having a kid has been the most amazing, scariest, and biggest growing experience ever. I'm learning to accept that there will be days that I feel like a failure, days of fear, anxiety, and even full-blown panic, but that is LIFE... and life is beautiful. 

To all of you struggling with anything in your life, feeling hard on yourself, feeling low or unable... Keep doing your best and know that YOU are ENOUGH....even on the days that aren't picture perfect!



Tuesday, June 5, 2018

New Season New Art - The Left Bank Shop and Gallery - McGregor, IA

If you didn't make it out to the opening night of "New Season, New Art" at the Left Bank Shop and Gallery in McGregor, IA, last Friday, you missed out! But don't worry, you can still head over and see it all for yourself until July 9th! 

Now, for those of you who may be confused, The Left Bank Shop and Gallery has both a retail gallery and a special exhibit gallery that rotates new artwork every few weeks. The special exhibit portion of the gallery showcases artwork that is by artists who may or may not show in the seasonal/retail gallery. This past Friday, we celebrated the opening night of the first special exhibit of the season, which featured an awesome display of 10 area artists!

Luckily for y'all, I was there with my camera and can let you have a little taste of what the opening night festivities looked like! :)

First, I walked into the gallery and bumped into one of my favorite local artists... Andy Wroble! You've probably seen his gorgeous ink wash drawings if you've spent any time in the NE Iowa art scene. Andy was the first annual Committee Choice Award recipient at Art in the Park 2015 and we're looking forward to seeing him again this year on Aug. 18 and 19th in Founders' Park! His work is whimsical, loose, and airy, and tells a story with each twist and turn. He has a great display of his original pieces now through July 9th at The Left Bank Shop and Gallery!  

Gorgeous work, Andrew J. Wroble!

Some work shown in the Special Exhibit Gallery may be listed as "NFS," which means it belongs to the artist's personal collection, or simply not for sale. Most of the artwork is for purchase, but every now and then the artist connects with a piece so closely that it just can't be sold! (maybe for the right price?!? wink wink)

Next, I discovered this lovely iron artwork by artist Dan Tesar. It's always neat to see new art and meet new artist friends! Dan is from Wauzeka, WI, and found his love for decorative ironwork after being a farrier for nearly 30 years! The pieces seem delicate and evoke a soft beauty, not what you'd expect to come from a hammer and brute force. Beautiful work, Dan, and thanks for letting me photograph you and your family alongside your iron art!

Also showing at this special exhibit is an artist from Harpers Ferry, IA, photographer, Mary Willie. Mary's photos are exquisite. I love the vibrant colors and her perspective that she uses to capture NE Iowa.

 And now, a display of several jewelry artists!

I need to go back and spend more time with each of these artists... so many wonderful things to look at and choose from. It's so cool to see so much wonderful jewelry in one place.... and all so unique!

The tenth artist in this special exhibit really blew me away. Hans Gill is a sculpture artist from Seneca, WI. His dimensional work feels provocative, experimental, and educational. I really look forward to visiting with this artwork more and plan to head back over to the Left Bank for another viewing soon.


Did I mention that another word for opening night reception is PARTY!? ;)
Seriously, guys... it's fun!

This photo captures my dear friend's joyful smile and colorful spirit! This is talented artist Kris Grover, as she stands in front of a wall filled with her colorful artwork on display in the retail gallery, while a viewer admires her work.  

One of my new cheerful mini masterpieces has already sold from the retail gallery, but you still have a chance to purchase one of my other originals at the Left Bank Shop and Gallery! Can you guess which two are JWEBB originals in the photo above?

I KNOW if you're a follower of SunnyInSaintOlaf, you recognize this little JWEBB ORIGINAL, too! 

There really is something for everyone at The Left Bank and opening nights are a blast! I hope you'll make it down to the next party; I'll let you know when that's coming up! In the meantime, head down and take a look at this fabulous exhibit before July 9th... while you still can! 

As always, HATS OFF to the crew who pulls this awesome display together time and time again at The Left Bank! It's always fresh, there's always something new to see, and it's just about impossible to leave empty-handed! 

My little cherub even left with something...

...crumbs on her face and a full tummy!

Again, you can still catch the show until JULY 9th and I highly recommend it! Unfortunately, you did miss out on a few things that make "opening nights" so special....

1. Meeting the artists!
2. Yummy food and refreshments!  ----- WINE PEOPLE!
3. Music & fun party atmosphere! 

So, OBVIOUSLY, the next time you hear about an opening night, MARK YOUR CALENDAR! 

and stay connected with me here, at sunnyinsaintolaf! 


coming soon.. 
  • Art by the River Fine Art Festival - June 9th from 9am to 4pm in Guttenberg, IA
  • Art Opening at G's Closet and Gallery in Elkader, IA - TBA
  • Art in the Park - Elkader, IA - August 18 & 19 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


shop and gallery 

Join us for the first Special Exhibit Opening of the season!
FRIDAY, JUNE 1ST from 6-8 PM

I get so excited for summer (especially since moving to the Midwest)! I love the longer days, the warm sunny breezes, packing away the winter coats, ice cream, shops opening up, the hustle of tourists doubling the size of our small towns, traveling, bonfires, tubing on the river, being outside with the little one, and so much more! 

I especially love diving into the summer art scene in our beautiful little corner of the world! I posted a few weeks ago when The Left Bank shop and gallery reopened, and I'm happy to say they're off to a brilliant start to the 2018 season. (Many galleries and specialty shops have special hours or take a few months off to hibernate through the Iowa winter). While the retail shop has been up and running since May 4th, they're just getting ready to host the first "special exhibit" of the season, and you're all invited to join! 

Have you ever been to an art opening? If not you're in for a treat! This Friday night (June 1st, from 6-8 PM) you'll get to meet some of the featured artists, listen to music in Triangle Park, enjoy refreshments, and soak in all of the beautiful new artwork! 

So get dressed up or stay casual, grab a date or fly solo, and come out to the opening night for:

opening June 1st - July 9, 2018

Hans Gill • Judy Gill • Jane Hash • Joy James • Liz Long • Jennifer Scuderio • Bird Skemp • 
Dan Tesar • Mary Willie • Andrew Wroble 

I'm not going to give you any sneak peeks of the featured artwork for the special exhibit "New Season - New Art" until after opening night.... but I will give you a hint at some things that you may have already seen at the gallery since it opened up for the summer season May 4th!

Recognize any artwork? 
See something new and fun? 
You're sure to find all kinds of treasures at The Left Bank! 

Hope to see you there!!!
In fact, you should join the event here on facebook so you don't forget! (You're welcome!) 


coming soon.. 
  • A peek at the special exhibit - New Season - New Art
  • Art by the River Fine Art Festival - June 9th from 9am to 4pm in Guttenberg, IA
  • Art in the Park - Elkader, IA - August 18 & 19