New Items Available!

Last week, I was able to add two of my favorite pieces of art to my pages on Redbubble and Society6. Please do stop by and check them out. I’m working to add most of my art and photography to the sites but it’s slow work indeed with our wonky internet.

Here are the two pieces of art now available on my pages. You can visit the pages by clicking on the link for each site in the caption under each photo. Thanks for stopping by!

Web of Life

“Web of Life” – mixed media artwork by Melody Kittles – Check it out on Redbubble by clicking here. Check it out on Society6 by clicking here.

The Mechanic

“The Mechanic” – mixed media (drawing in micron pens, colors and textures added in Gimp) by Melody Kittles. Check it out on Redbubble by clicking here. Check it out on Society6 by clicking here.


Web Of Life

This is the first drawing I worked on while on Thanksgiving break. I really had a lot of fun creating this one! It’s another mixed media piece, the drawing done on sketchbook paper with micron pens, an HB pencil, a ruler and a compass, then photographed and edited in Gimp. I added the color that way since we’re away from home for a little bit and I don’t have any paints with me. I will be creating a different color effect in acrylics on this piece and “The Mechanic” when I return home, though it may be some time before they are done. When complete, I’ll share the final result with my readers here. To order a print (no downloads please!!), click here to go to my gallery or click the photo to go to the artwork page. All artwork prints are on sale (25% off) for Black Friday only! Support your local artists, artisans and small business owners this year while you shop for Christmas gifts!

"Web of Life" - mixed media artwork by Melody Kittles

“Web of Life” – mixed media artwork by Melody Kittles

One Lovely Blog Nomination!

I was very surprised to find out Unchained Emporium had been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by Aquileana of La Audacia de Aquiles! I thank you very much!


►Here are the Award Rules:

1) The nominee shall display the respective logo on her/his blog and link to the blogger that has nominated her/him.

2) The nominee shall nominate ten to fifteen (10 to 15) bloggers she/he admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about the nomination.

Here are my nominations for the One Lovely Blog Award, in no particular order. Some will have more commentary than others, especially if I’ve been following them for a while. Without further ado:

1. J.D. Kittles Photography – Yes, John is my husband, but I don’t think I’m being biased when I say he’s taken some beautiful, epic, awesome, wowie photos over the past 8 years. I’ve seen his progress over those years and he gets better and better every day. Please do check out his work! You’ll find photos of nature in all its glory (from macro to panoramic), vehicles, people, architecture and so much more.

2. West517 “The World We Know” – This wonderful Lady is another brilliant photographer. Her eye for subject, lighting, texture, and effects, really comes through in her work. My favorites are the vintage style photos. Please do stop by her blog and check out her wonderful work.

3. Book ‘n Volume – Morgan writes poetry the like of which is very hard to find. The words, when read aloud, roll gently off the tongue, flowing like a refreshing stream. I’ve been brought to tears on many occasions by the eloquence which she employs in conveying feeling and emotion to the reader. She pairs her poetry well with beautiful artwork and is always conscientious, making sure to credit the creator of the art. Please do stop by her blog and wrap yourself up in her wonderful poetry!

4. Harsh Reality – Now I might get blasted for saying it but Opinionated Man of Harsh Reality blog deserves an award. If you check out his blog, you might wonder why I nominated him. Here’s my reason. Life is not always pretty. Life is sometimes raw and biting, balancing out the smooth and joyous times. Balance is a beautiful thing. Knowing where you stand is also a beautiful thing. Not being afraid to share your downs as well as you ups takes lots of courage. As such, I think OM definitely qualifies because a life without balance has no chance at being lovely at all!

5. The Obvious And The Hidden: Fine Art Photography – Iosatel is a wonderful photographer, sharing many lovely black and white photos. I was immediately taken with the way light and shadow are used to give the most striking effect. Please do note that ‘striking’ doesn’t mean the same as ‘harsh’ or ‘glaring’ or ‘hard-edged’! While viewing any of the photos Iosatel has posted, I’m taken to a dreamland of possibilities. Please do stop by and check it out for yourself!

6. Paris Poems – Paris Poems is, as expected, a poetry blog. This wonderful Lady delivers poetry from the heart, about life, love, pain, and all things in between. No matter what, you are assured of reading a piece of art that will resonate somehow within you. Please check out her work and see for yourself.

7. The Art of Quotation – This is a fabulous blog that consistently shares quotes that inspire me and make me think.

8. Totally Inspired Mind – Paulette of Totally Inspired Mind blog is a faithful reblogger, sharing many wonderful posts from many inspiring souls. Please do stop by and check out what she’s found today!

9. Source Of Inspiration – Pat Cegan, the author of this blog, write poetry that comes from her faith experiences. She’s written some beautiful pieces that have touched my heart. Please stop by and read a few for yourself!

10. Emerald Wake – Ah! What can I say about EM’s beautiful photos? Here are a few adjectives to describe his work: other-worldly, dreamlike, magical, colorful, soft but clear, mysterious, wondrous, simply amazing. Don’t take my word for it, though! Check it out for yourself!

11. Audio SeXXX – Don’t let the name put you off! I almost did and wow! What a regret that would’ve been. James Revels III is a composer and artist. I’m not really sure how to describe his work. Perhaps the word compelling would be best applied here. I really enjoy his instrumental work. I think what I like most about his blog is that he seeks interaction with his followers via polls and social media connections and he shares his journey in making music and art. I believe in supporting people who are going after their dreams with all they have and I believe James is doing just that.

12. Colorful Threads of Life – Evon Foo, who writes this blog, is a wonderful Lady who shares her love of nature through photography, linking it many times with applicable scripture verses. She also shares craft ideas and little things about life in her corner of Malaysia. Do stop by her blog and see what she has to share!

I believe these blog merit the One Lovely Blog Award for the reasons I shared beside each one. No matter what comes of this nomination, I do hope each one will realize their worth to me as a follower and reader. I don’t always have time to read every post but I do my best to catch those I can. Good luck!

PS…I know OM has received a lot of flack for his blatant and blunt opinions on many hot topics. I don’t always agree with everything posted on the internet but I’m not going to attack someone with a different opinion, just because they had the courage to share theirs. I will not approve any hateful statements towards him or any of the other blogs I’ve nominated. Misery may love company but I don’t love misery, so kind or encouraging statements are the only ones I’ll approve here.

Experiences and Observations

Hello again! I know my posts have been very sporadic over the last couple of months. There are many reasons but the fact is that there were some things that needed our attention more than our blog. The kids were involved in a play. They practiced 4 days of each week until the last week of June and then had two dress rehearsals. The play ran last week and finished up with a matinee this past Sunday. We’ve been working on doing what we can to separate John’s photography business from the rest of Kittles Family Artworks and while doing so have come to some other conclusions. We’re busy trying to organize all the things that need to get done in order to make these transitions go smoothly. We’re tired and worn out but we’re putting one foot in front of the other on this life journey and we’re walking the road together.

Because we are creative people, the need to experience new places and take advantage of new opportunities is quite important. We decided to take a much needed trip to refresh and renew our spirits. We opted to visit family in Georgia. There are many things to do and see in our home states so being able to stay with family is a great help on a tight budget. One of the things we’re determined to do more of are outings and trips to different places. We feel these are necessary to keep the mind sharp and fresh and to keep the creativity flowing.

Feeling tired and run down? Feeling like you’re in a rut and going nowhere? Then I highly recommend you get into your vehicle and just go driving. Don’t drive? Do you bike? A bike ride can be just as rewarding! Prefer walking to either of those? A good hike is refreshing and slow enough that you won’t miss the small things that are truly inspiring. We’re really enjoying our down time. It’s really great to be able to just step away from the daily routine and take a few deep breaths.

Just because we are away from home and away from the supply containers doesn’t mean we haven’t been creating new things or expanding our knowledge. Starshine and Magiba have been working on their drawing skills. I’ve been snapping and editing cell phone photos taken at some of the stops along our route. (If you’d like to see those, please keep an eye on my personal blog by clicking here. It is my intent to post a gallery of some of the best edits of our travel photos there in the near future.) John has been taking more storm, still life, and flower photos. (You can check out the photos he’s been posting on our trip at his blog by clicking here.) I can’t believe we’ve already been gone for 4 days! We have been creating things on our journey but I know I’ll be ready to start creating new artworks when our trip is completed!

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~Confucius

Experimenting With Mixed Media Art

I’ve never done a whole lot with mixed media art, except where our scrapbooks are concerned. I decided it might be fun to give it a try. I bought some canvas panels, since they were a bit less costly than canvas. This is an experiment and I don’t want to invest too much before figuring out if I really like it. It’s even more important that other folks like the work since I plan to sell them eventually. Here’s what I came up with so far.

I started with a fabric mask, embroidered at the shop where I work part-time, some paperboard flowers and a blank canvas panel.

I started with a fabric mask, embroidered at the shop where I work part-time, some paperboard flowers and a blank canvas panel.

My panel didn’t stay white for long. Paint is something I know I will use so I bought several colors that seemed somewhat vintage. To cover the panel, I used a wide, flat paint brush and coated all but the bottom quarter of my panel with a turquoise blue. I then used a metallic peridot green to coat the rest of the panel, drawing it over the blue. I thought this gave the feel of grass and sky and went well with the flower pieces and mask I chose to use. The fabric mask is a cream colored jaquard with light, metallic gold scrolls throughout. The embroidery was done in black.

As I needed only a small amount of embellishing on my mask, I chose to use tiny brass scrapbooking brads to accent some of the embroidered curls. I put all my pieces on the canvas (after the paint had dried!) to see how the placement worked. When I saw I had lots of open space, I decided to add a ‘sign’ made from a coordinating scrapbook paper scrap and a printed vellum sheet which said, “I am here to live out loud.” I used another brad to attach the pieces of paper together and used scrapbook photo stickers to adhere it to the panel. I dabbed a bit of glue at the corners to be sure it sticks. I also used the same photo stickers and glue to adhere the flowers to the panel. I used fabri-tac glue to stick the mask onto the panel. Then I let it all dry overnight. I used regular non-toxic glue for the flowers and sign. My concern is that it may not be strong enough. So this panel is my prototype. What do you think? I’d appreciate your opinion. It might also help to know I have several masks on hand to choose from when creating the next two panels. If any of you have any theme suggestions, I’m game to try making those ideas come to life. The final artworks that pass my test will be put up at Etsy for sale, along with a few other items.

I think I'm going to call it "Sunshine" because it makes me think of summer and gardens and sunshine and laughter.

I think I’m going to call it “Sunshine” because it makes me think of summer and gardens and sunshine and laughter.

I question not if thrushes sing,
If roses load the air;
Beyond my heart I need not reach
When all is summer there.”
~John Vance Cheney

Boards Don’t Hit Back: The Legend of Bruce Lee

Very good article! It was well worth the time spent reading it and very encouraging.

Book Donkey

The attached post is from one of my favorite blogs – Nerd Fitness and it’s a story about one of my heroes – Bruce Lee.


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Discouragement, Rainbows, And Restoration

Today has been one of the most discouraging days I’ve experienced in quite some time. It’s not so much what actually happened during the course of the day. I think it was more my perception of the things that occurred and the order in which they occurred. As murky and sludge-like as the day has seemed, it wasn’t all bad. I still have things I can be grateful for.

Thank God for rainbows! As if I needed a tangible reminder of hope, there, hanging in the afternoon sky, was a large vibrant rainbow. And a not-so vibrant-twin rested not too far from it. Both ends were visible for a while but even the short amount of time it was here was enough to take a bit of the weight off my shoulders and refresh me for the rest of the evening. (John is telling me it was a quadruple rainbow. He did get photos so I may be able to share one with you later tonight. I do know that it looked really odd.)

Restoration comes slowly but surely. The more of life I live, the more peace and quiet I seek. By that, I do not mean that my choice in music will change dramatically, nor my choice in art, nor in reading material. I’ve always been particular about all the things I choose to spend my time on. I mean, I am working towards simplifying my life and minimizing those things I find to be a drain on my energy. As I seek out those simpler methods and begin to apply them, as I find the balance that my psyche needs, as I achieve goals that I formerly only ‘set’, I find that it becomes easier to breathe and life becomes brighter. One step at a time, one foot in front of the other, continuing on the journey and learning new things along the way is what life is basically about. Keep on keeping on.

“The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.” ~ John Vance Cheney