Sunday, May 31, 2009

Johnathan Cassian Vernon Turns ONE!

My little nephew is one years old, I can hardly believe it! I offered to take photos of his birthday bash since photographing children is my passion and I know how hard or should I say nearly impossible it is to capture that day when trying to host the party. It was almost a disaster, our camera battery was pretty much dead and our charger was no where to be found! I was very very bummed and told Kelly I would use her camera. We had headed up early to help with the decorating of the glorious 'mix 'n' match robot cupcakes! Three cupcakes makes one robot and they were fun! Prior to the party I experiemented with Kelly's point and shoot digital camera and was having a tough time getting a non washed out, not to dark, and/or focused photo. Starting to get very discouraged I decided to run to the camera shop in town and see if they had a charger; bite the bullet and buy one. They did have one and I charged it up enough to take photos, charged it more during the eating and then took more photos. I do not regret buying one, though I like to know where the original one walked off to!  Johnathan had a great day! He had many friends and family members come to see him walking already and celebrate his special day. He enjoyed his cupcake and received wonderful gifts! Here are a few of my favorite moments of the day.

He's saying, "YAY, I'm ONE!"

We had fajita, tacos, and delicious sides.

The fun bags for the kiddos.


Johnathan with his Daddy

His Mommy and her Robot head.

Gift openening lurkers                            

3 generations

Johnathan and his Great-Grandma


Maya and Annabelle, silly girls!


Maya and her Daddy

WOW, balloons!

Maya and Johnathan; Cousins

HandmadeMN May Challenge:Beach

The theme this month was "Beach." I debated over what to do, should I paint, drawn or photograph? I painted last month and failed, so this month I decided upon photography! I sorted through many photographs to find the perfect one in which to me says, "beach!" The winning piece was taken by the other half of MTart, my husband Mike and it was the chosen one because to me a beach is a family place.  It is where people spend time together swimming, laying in the sun or even taking a walk down the pier. It is a place that is warm and inviting.  Sometimes it is too warm and beach goers bring umbrellas to shade the sun, sunblock to block the sun as well as beach toys and your own children who are just a little too big for your already filled arms to  hold so they slide down and cling onto your leg as your waddle down to the water.

"The Beach" by Mike Tvrdik

Watch for "The Beach" this week to vote during the challenge at the HandemadeMN BLOG.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


"Reach out and Grab Ya"

This MTart photograph was featured in the article:
posted on the HandmadeMn team blog which is at
It was a pleasant surprise for me this morning!
I hope you enjoy the sunshine of this photo too!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Associate by Michael Nelsen and Jason Danzeisen

The Associate is a comic book (in the works) created by my brother (in-law) Micheal and his friend Jason. One of the characters is named after Mike and Kelly's uncle who recently passed away from cancer. It is in a comic book idol competition and has made it to round three where only three comics will make it to round 4. The three judges gave them solid YES's, but they were down by votes in comparison to others in round 2. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE take a moment to vote for them. They could have this comic PUBLISHED!

Not only do they need daily (not hourly) but just once a day votes, they need new voters to move on, so ask everyone you know to participate and vote for "The Associate"! I mean come on you forward those jokes and cutesy stories and this could really benefit some real people's lives, including MY nephew! :D All you do is sign up at the link below. (you won't get spammed, I promise) it is no scarier that getting an e-mail account.

Make sure you are signed in and Then click the word "idol" in the left menu. Then on the right side of "The Associate" click where it says: Click To Voting Poll/Comment thread.
Then vote where it says you are a fan. Simple as that, do that one day til June 7th.

Note:The formatting of these comic panel is not the actual format I had to chop it up to be able to put in on my blog.

I've included an interesting writing from Michael about the backstory below:[I thought I'd give our fans and readers a little backstory info on the abandoned hospital seen in this portion of our story. The building in question is an actual historical site that is still standing.:The Fergus Falls state hospital for the insane in Fergus Falls, MN. We actually chose this particular abandoned asylum solely for the fact that it is in our homebase state of Minnesota. But as went about doing research for the story we became aware that the building at Fergus Falls is from a group of hospitals built around the turn of the century (roughly) that are all based on a similar design scheme and architectural layout.
From the internet "All across the United States stand great buildings erected in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as hospitals (or asylums) for the mentally ill. There used to be more; many have fallen under the wrecking ball. Few of those that remain are still in use; the rest are abandoned, falling prey to the elements and lack of upkeep. The thing that these imposing, eerie, typically Gothic-style buildings have in common is that they were all designed after the plan of pioneering psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride."
So we discovered that were MANY such hospitals scattered across the country. We've been able to include this bit of real life into our narrative in a very serendipitous turn of events. It's these sort of happy accidents and lucky connections that spring up during our creative process that never ceases to amaze me!
Fun stuff! More to come!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

To all you Mom's out there:

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Happy Mother's Day!
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Hope your day is a special one!

Friday, May 8, 2009


20% of May proceeds will go to "AUSTISM SOCIETY OF AMERICA"

"Two pads in a pond" 
Photographed by Mike, edited by Meredith,  
This is an 8x8 and is listed at Stormtrooper1
You've heard "two peas in a pod" well this is "two pads in a pond" just as cute! What does this photo mean to you? It could represent two people in love sharing the same space, snuggling up, or how you are trying to live "green" or maybe you just like green, perhaps you grew up near a pond and it reminds you of 'home', either way it needs a home.

"Slid'n Flute" 
Photographed and edited by Meredith,
 This is a 8x10 and is listed at MT art
If we were an ant, this is what a flute slide would look like, though I think we'd have to hop down it or it would be one lumpy ride. I'm just being a dork here, but I like this composition, shadows and general feel of this photo.

"We can say that the FLUTE of God is actually that great sound current which soul rides upon in its journey to Its true home."- Paul Twitchell quotes

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Just like my Birthday!

"The Flute Rocks" by Mt art
I just logged into our Stormtrooper1 Etsy site and it said "You need to leave feedback for 2 items" which made me feel like it was my birthday because it means I made another SALE today!!! I sold one item yesterday and I was just as excited. :)

This photo was taken as a custom request series with flute and butterflies as the theme. It went out and shot two seperate days, one day was by my work in downtown minneapolis. The other was at the como zoo butterfly garden. We made it a family day and Mike and Maya came with and we had fun following butterfiles around inside the tent. I had fun photographing a flute since it is an instrument that is often ignored. The lady is was created for ended up needing the money for a family emergency and never bought any prints, so today's purchase was special to me. :)
BlueTippedSMslideBWidea leuconoe-Paper KiteSM

The person that purchased the "The Flute Rocks" 8x10 print is giving it as a gift. She said, "Great picture! It will make a wonderful gift to a graduating flute student!"

In addition todays and yesterday's print purchases are helping autism research!!! Check the right column of my blog right below the followers (are you a follower yet?) to keep track of how much has been raised through the month. You can add to the amount raised by purchasing anything from either Mtart or Stormtrooper1 shops. 20% in May is being donated to :D

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

FREE 8x10 print at Walgreens TODAY only.

Hello all!

I just wanted to let you know that Walgreens has a mother's day promotion today and today only for a free 8x10. You just enter the promo code "Mother" in the check out and you pay nothing. :) Have fun with it!

My pick was a photo taken a little over a year ago, last April of my daughter looking out the front window of the house we used to own. It is the house she was born in (well she was born at a hospital, but you know what I meant) so the photo has a lot of meaning to me, personally. I really like how it turned out. :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

HandmadeMN ANIMAL challenge

The 12 submission of the talented group of people from HandmadeMN have been posted and are up for voting!!!

I submitted too small of a photo of my piece to truly see it's depth. I had posted last week with with better photos. (click the image CLOSER look) More photos in the next link as well.

I NEED votes (for my ego, lol), but vote for whichever you like best.

To vote for your favorite animal piece, click HERE

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Autism Society of America

My autistic cousins, Nolan (top) and Bradly (bottom)

Autism...what is it?

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person's lifetime. It is part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Today, 1 in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a person's ability to communicate and relate to others. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines. Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe.

Did you know…
  • 1 in 150 children is diagnosed with autism
  • 1 in 94 boys is on the autism spectrum
  • 67 children are diagnosed per day
  • A new case is diagnosed almost every 20 minutes
  • More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined
  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
  • Autism costs the nation over $35 billion per year, a figure expected to significantly increase in the next decade
  • Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
  • Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism
  • There is no medical detection or cure for autism
incidence vs. Private Funding
  • Leukemia: Affects 1 in 25,000 / Funding: $310 million
  • Muscular Dystrophy: Affects 1 in 20,000 / Funding: $175 million
  • Pediatric AIDS: Affects 1 in 8,000 / Funding: $394 million
  • Juvenile Diabetes: Affects 1 in 500 / Funding: $130 million
  • Autism: Affects 1 in 150 / Funding:ONLY $42 million
I know many boys, some are family, some are friends, all have amazing Mothers and Fathers who love these kids more than life themselves, executing patience beyond what a parent of a non-autistic child can only dream about. More and more children are diagnosed everyday, possible our own future sons and daughters.

This month (MAY) Mike and I are giving 20% of all proceeds to to help fund research for a cure. Please take a moment and check out our two shops at MTart and Stormtrooper1 Decorate your home with something you love while helping out others who are loved.

Don't like anything we are selling????
You can donate directly to the cause at

Thank you for your time! God bless all the autistic children of the world!

Meredith & Mike

Still in Awe! Maya and I made it to the next round! THANK YOU!

I can not THANK YOU ALL ENOUGH for voting!!!!!!!!! Our photo was in the TOP 5 picked from round 5 of voting!!!!!!!!!!! I was about to go to bed way past my bedtime at 2am and now I am wired with excitement...way more than coffee or mountain dew could battle for!!!!!

The downfall is I will have to bug you all a bit more.... Voting starts Monday May 4th through May 8th for the next round of 25 contestants. There is tough competition but I have great friends and family! Pretty please go get the word out, forward this e-mail get people voting from all over the country! :D

Don't worry if you missed out on the action this round, you can join in the fun this Monday and vote (I hope it is still hourly and not per minute) for ONE WEEK!

I know you competitive folks will love the voting challenge! Let's see if we can make it to the next and final round.

Meredith & Maya

Click image for a closer view of that "Round 5 winner" title. :D I feel so loved!

Friday, May 1, 2009

HAPPY May Day everyone!

(First thing first, if you are reading this and it is after 10am Central time, please go vote for Maya and I in the Mommy and me look-a-like contest by searching "wrapped up" at" (you can vote hourly if you so choose......THANKS SO MUCH!)

Believe it or not, I lived 27 years without knowing of the Mayday tradition of buying flowers and knocking on a neighbors door, leaving them flowers, and run and hide for them to get there wonderful unexpected Mayday flowers! I learned of this when a co-worker of mine asked me to create some Mayday flowers to mail to some relatives for her. I was excited to be a part of this special day! She could not afford to mail 5 baskets of flowers, so I created the next best thing. Homemade paper flower-basket cards from the Brent-Wade card line. Brent-Wade is named after the creators late Fathers. My Dad Brent passed at age 37 when I was 16 from a heart aneurysm. My business partner and friend Wynter from RootWater lost her Dad, Nelson Wade to a car accident on his way to his postal route in 2000. We know they would be proud of our business so we named it after them.

These cards are "post-card" Style, just one sided.

See more Brent-Wade Cards at
Mtart and Rootwater
We LOVE custom requests too, so don't be shy!