Bigger Than You {we are almost there}


My dear friend Kimberly Taylor has found her passion outside her gorgeous home and family and it is contagious.

I would love for you to hear her heart and consider helping in the final stretch of this amazing opportunity to give.

We are ALMOST there!



My name is Kimberly Taylor and I am the founder of The Grow Hope Foundation.  We are a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people around the world improve their circumstances through education and a helping hand.  I recently returned from Uganda where I visited our pilot project that The Grow Hope Foundation has been working on in partnership with the Sustainable Community Education Program (SCEP) for the past year.  During my two weeks there I was able to witness first hand what the team in Uganda has accomplished in the past year.  The changes are incredible! We spent much of our time in the community, talking with the members of our pilot project and seeing all of the changes that they have made to improve their health through better sanitation and hygiene.  We visited every home that was a part of the 50 home project to witness first hand what impact it had had on their lives.


The community that we work in is rural and most of the residents lack education. However what they lack in knowledge they more than make up for in determination, heart and hard work. Our initial goal was to offer a better future for these families, but what we learned is that the thing they needed most was hope.  Hope had long since disappeared from this rural community, and when they began to realize that they had a reason to hope again, real changes began to happen.  Our community members in the pilot project have been so eager to learn and have attended the classes enthusiastically.  After each workshop they return home to implement the changes they have been taught.  In the last year every single family in our program has built a proper, safe and sanitary latrine as well as a tip-top (an apparatus for washing hands- an integral part of our program).  They have also learned about the importance of keeping their home free from pests and they built sanitation tables to wash and store their dishes, pots and mingling sticks- the tools they use to cook that were often stored on the ground in the dirt.  With these simple measures, illnesses have decreased dramatically over the past year and not one child was lost in our village to the secondary effects of poor sanitation.  While our community is healthier, we still see far too much malnutrition, especially in young children.  And that is where we came up with a plan.  A plan that we are really excited about and truly feel that it will impact this community and other communities around ours. Our hope is to create a sustainable program that offers education to the people around us, so that they in turn can begin to rise from the poverty that they currently exist in and create a life with hopes and dreams and a prosperous future.  We want to build something that will greatly increase their chances in doing that.


Our plan is to build an educational compound- Tusubira Village, which in the local language Lusoga means HOPE.  Tusubira Village would be a place where the surrounding community residents- many of whom weren’t a part of the pilot project but would like to be- are able to come and learn how to improve things such as hygiene, sanitation and nutrition.  We have found that the people in rural areas learn much more when they are able to see what they should do- when someone is available to actually demonstrate how to build a new latrine, or a sanitation table to store cooking utensils, or to plant a proper garden.  Tusubira Village will be just that- a place to come and learn, to practice, to ask questions.  When the people of the community leave the compound, they will leave with knowledge that they can take to their homes and replicate. They can make changes that will improve their lives, one step at a time.  Our hope is that we engage our initial community so completely that they will in turn become experts and be able to share the many things they have learned with others in their area.  Our goal is that with Tusubira Village we can impact not only our members but all of the residents of our area.  One day, maybe we will even help to improve the health and well-being of Ugandans in other rural areas.  We hope that once the seed is planted it will continue to spread and grow on its own.  I have seen how determined these people are, and how hard they are willing to work to make these changes.  With their hope restored, I truly believe that all they need is this helping hand- they will do the rest!


Tusubira Village itself will sit on three acres of land in the middle of the community we currently work with and will serve as not only an educational compound but a community gathering place to the surrounding area.  The land has already been purchased.  Tusubira Village will offer a wide range of benefits to the local community:

~The Well.  This will be the cornerstone of the compound and the reason that the community visits every single day.

30-40 separate gardens- each one planted with  different nutrient-rich crops that we hope the community will grow in their own gardens.  Experienced farmers will be available to teach growing techniques as well as answer any questions people may have after starting their own gardens.  Seedlings from these gardens will be shared with the community to give their gardens a healthy start.  Produce will be harvested from them to both stock the farm stand on the compound for purchase by locals as well as to be donated to local malnutrition facilities in the area, where children are in desperate need of nutrients.  This will be a “hands-on” facility where people will leave feeling confident that they are able to grow their own fruits and vegetables for their families.

~The main building- which will serve as a base for the local team as well as a place to host workshops.  People will come to learn skills that they can use to create work for themselves, thus an income for their family.  We will host artisans who will teach things such as weaving and sewing, which are useful skills in our area.  With an open space we also plan to host classes for adults such as reading, writing, not to mention teaching health and first-aid.  The possibilities are endless.

~The guest house – volunteer accommodations where people who are there to work with our program can stay.  It will have a western bathroom, a simple kitchen and a number of bedrooms.  It will also have a common area where meetings can be held or meals for large groups can be hosted.

~The meeting hut- a thatched roof structure that will host weekly meetings all year long- even in the rainy season.

~The lawn- a place for groups to gather or children to play while their parents learn.

It will also have:

~multiple varieties of fruit trees throughout the compound

~a 2-3 stall latrine for guests to use

~an area to raise chickens for eggs, meat, and to share baby chicks with the community

~an area to raise goats that will be milked and babies will be shared with the community to begin to raise goats of their own

~a caretaker hut


The first step to building Tusubira Village is the installation of a well.  This is THE MOST important part of getting this project going and also the most expensive.  The women and children of our community walk up to 2 miles each way, twice a day to collect water for cooking, washing and drinking.  The path to the water source is through a dense jungle- one that holds many dangers for them- especially the children.  With a well on the compound we can offer people a safe place to collect clean water for their families.  There would be no jungles to travel through, and the water itself would be safe not only for cooking and washing, but for drinking.  Water is a life-changing resource in places such as this.  When you remove the threat of water borne illnesses in combination with improved nutrition, you change the trajectory of the lives of these families.  You change their future.

a latrine before, and after


If we fully fund this campaign the money will go directly to getting the well installed.  If we were to go beyond our goal the next project would be to build one of the buildings so that we could establish a central workspace for the team in the community and classes could begin.  And yes, we would LOVE to go beyond our goal- and we know with your support we can make it happen!

I’ve often thought about the fact that because many of us were born in the countries we were, we will never have to struggle to survive, better yet have a chance to thrive like this community does.  But these women do- the ones who welcomed me into their homes, shared what little food they had with me and freely strapped their children to my back so that I could experience, for half an hour, what they live every day.  But do not be mistaken- they were no different than you or I inside. We are all daughters and mothers, wives and friends. These women are strong, and smart and they are willing to do whatever it takes to improve their lives.  They simply need a bit of help getting started.  They will do the rest- and not only that, but I know that they will take what they have learned and spread that knowledge to the communities surrounding them, so that everyone has an opportunity to thrive.  That is what we want with this project- a long lasting solution that will change the trajectory of their futures, as well as the futures of generations to come.

No donation is too small- as every dollar impacts this project.  And if you can’t donate, simply spreading the word would give this campaign the wings it needs to build this village. Facebook it, Tweet it, blog about it!  The more people that join the team to make Tusubira Village happen, the sooner we can give this community a safer, healthier hopeful future.  All they need is some education and a helping hand.  They will do the rest- I promise you.

To donate in ANY amount (everything helps and blesses) please click HERE.

Thank you for considering!


Life Book 2015 {Teacher line up, blog hop and giveaway}


Good morning!

I have some exciting news this morning and I hope you will be excited too and want to join me.

I am one of 25 teachers that will teaching in Life Book 2015!

This is an online art course that gives you new art technique and inspiration videos each month for a whole year.

So many of the artists teaching are women I know personally or women I admire for their creativity.

It is an honor to be included with so many talented and successful artists.

Registration will open on October 6th but you can check out all of the details and teachers now by going HERE.

I can’t wait to share with you my journal pages celebrating the lights and shadows of who we all are.  I love that I also get to talk with you about how I celebrate the day to day, find my gratitude in the midst of disappointment and my biggest tip that has helped me learn how to celebrate and the gratitude.  I will have print out quotes, prompts and more!

Each month will be full of inspiration to keep your creativity on track throughout the year.  I am just as excited to learn from the other artists as I am sure you are!

Look at all of these artists!

So exciting!

Who would love to win a spot in this one year course?

I get to giveaway ONE SPOT and to enter all you need to do is:

* leave a comment on this post telling me what keeps your creativity on track or what you would like to get out of Life Book 2015

For additional chances:

* Facebook THIS blog post

* Pin THIS post to Pinterest

* Blog about the course and link THIS post

Each time you do one of the above please come pack to THIS post and let me know and you will get additional entries for each time you share about the course linking to this blog post.

Want more chances to win a spot?

Tomorrow go check out the blog of Andrea Gomoll for an additional chance to win!

Here is a complete list of the teachers and all of their links so you can have additional chances to win and to get to know them better.

8th September 2014 – Tamara Laporte –
9th September 2014 – Jane Davenport –
10th September 2014 – Joanne Sharpe –
11th September 2014 –  Jenny Lee Wentworth –
12th September 2014 –  Violette Clark –
13th September 2014 –  Chris Zydel –
14th September 2014 –  Danielle Donaldson –
15th September 2014 –  Effy Wild –
16th September 2014 –  Flora Bowley –
17th September 2014 –  Alisa Burke –
18th September 2014 –  Rachael Rice –
19th September 2014 –  Jeanne Oliver –
20th September 2014 –  Andrea Gomoll –
21st September 2014 –  Kristin van Valkenburgh –
22nd September 2014 –  Jill K. Berry –
23rd September 2014 –  Alena Hennessy –
24th September 2014 –  Juliette Crane –
25th September 2014 –  Jenny Doh –
26th September 2014 –  Mati Rose McDonough –
27th September 2014 –  Patti Ballard –
28th September 2014 –  Lynzee Lynx –
29th September 2014 –  Roben Marie Smith –
30th September 2014 –  Andrea Schroeder –
1st October 2014 –  Lynn Whipple –
2nd October 2014 –  Donna Downey –

Fall Decorating Ideas {Finding Fall Home Tour}


Do I get to wear boots yet?

That is what fall is all about!

OK, maybe fall is amazing for other things too.

How about I was married in October, two of my babies were born in the fall, the cooler temperatures, bulky sweaters, getting all cozy and reading a book, family and friends gathering together more, crunching of the leaves under your awesome boots that you finally get to wear again…

I’m sorry I didn’t mean to go back to the boots.

Maybe we should get on to the decorating.

I am so honored to be included again in Finding Home’s Finding Fall Home Tour!

Don’t miss out on starting the Finding Fall Home Tour from the very beginning!

This is an amazing group of talented women that I get to be a part of and I never take it for granted.

Better Homes and Gardens is a sponsor again this year and they have come up with 100 Days of Holiday Inspiration.  I love all of the ways BHG inspires when it comes to the home. To sign up click HERE.

Welcome if you are coming from The Graphics Fairy.

I love Karen’s style and I know her site is always a source of so much inspiration.

If you are new to my blog I am so happy you are here and I hope you enjoy looking around!

If you love creating I would love for you to check out my online creative network that includes over 30 online classes!

If you would like to know about upcoming retreats, online classes and my shop please subscribe to my newsletter HERE.

Welcome to our home!

I am so glad you have come by and I hope you enjoy peeking around at the clean parts of our home:-)

One of my favorite parts of our home is our front porch.  There are many mornings that you will find me on the swing with a blanket over my lap, devotions at my side and a hot cup of coffee in hand.

Now don’t judge me too quickly but all summer I dreamed about having cocktails out on the front porch with friends. I don’t know where the summer went but I had to follow through and create a mini bar to use this fall.

I have three of these carts from IKEA that I use in my studio to keep my supplies close by while I paint.  Lately I have seen so many beautiful bars created from random carts and furniture that I thought it was worth cleaning out some art supplies!  It was so easy to quickly set up the cart and this will be my go to set up when we have friends over.  Don’t think I have gone all Don Draper on you all and will be having my first cocktail right after breakfast. I may be clinking glasses with my husband though after the kids go to bed.  I think the main point here is that if you live in my area you might want to join me on the front porch soon!

{I may be getting an email from my mom later}

The first room you see when you come into our home is my art studio.  When it looks a lot worse than this it means I have been busy making stuff that makes me happy.

We recently have been working on our kitchen and we have remodeled and changed the look completely.  We still have the back counter and back splash to install but we are getting there.

If you love before and after photos you may like some of our recent projects.

*Adding Open Shelving

*Ripping out the built in desk

*Living Room Makeover

*Kitchen Remodel {before and after}

*How we built our kitchen island

This is the butler’s pantry off our kitchen that has become the perfect beverage station for tea and coffee. The kids really like this area during the holidays because I keep extra treats for their hot cocoa when their friends come over.

As a family we really spend the majority of our time in the kitchen and living room.  I love things to look pretty but what I really want is for the space to be inviting, warm and useable.

At the top of our stairs we have a window seat with storage and lots of shelves that we fill with family photos.  Today I just let the musician take the spotlight.

It seems a little weird to invite you into my bedroom but here we go…

I don’t constantly buy new things for our home or decorate much for any season except the little that I do for fall and then Christmas.  I like to rearrange what I already have and to use from nature as much as possible.

Before I set this table the kids and I went on a walk in the woods and found everything we needed.  It was free and when we are done with it we can put it right back:-)

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking a look at our home all dressed up for fall.  As soon as I can get my hands on some Cinderella pumpkins and baby white pumpkins they will be making an appearance too.

If you like the photos above of our home I think you would like these posts too…

Fall Home Tour 2013

Christmas Home Tour 2013


Our 13 year old son’s bedroom makeover

Our daughter’s bedroom makeover

Going from baby to big boy room makeover

Hallway collage wall

Our home decorated for Christmas

How to add character to a new home

Shop your own home (one room four different ways)

Create your own outdoor movie night

Have fun on the blog tour and I hope to see you again here soon.

The next stop on the tour is Better Homes and Gardens!

You won’t want to miss what they are sharing.

Sketchworks [drawing with confidence]


Good Morning!

I wanted you to know about a brand new art course that will begin on November 4th.  Artist Angie Redhead will lead this two week drawing course Sketchworks [drawing with confidence].

He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.

- Leonardo da Vinci

The old masters were skilled draftsmen. Having a good understanding of logical art allowed them to deviate from the rules in their own way and create masterpieces.

In this two week online class, we will show you the drawing tools needed to improve and confidently take your art to the next level.

During the first week, we will take you through perspective, the parts of a landscape and how perspective relates to portraiture.

We will also cover the various methods of shading, finding the light source and illustrating highlights.

For week two, we will take an in depth look at the anatomy of the head, it’s proportions, bone structure, muscles and facial planes in order to understand where shadows and features should fall in a portrait.

Week 1

Perspective Drawing
– 1 point, 2 point, 3 point
– parts of a landscape drawing – horizon line, foreground & background
– shading, highlights, etc.
– show how relates to still life, and portraiture
– tips for checking perspective and proportions

Week 2

Drawing the Face/Human Head
– anatomy & proportions
– bone structure of skull
– muscles
– facial planes
– where shadows fall
– difference between male and female faces
– face maps

The course will begin on November 4th and the early registration price is $39.

To register please click HERE.

For people that are not already in the site here are directions:

To take a class on Jeanne Oliver’s creative network please follow these instructions:

1. Become a member of (this is free)

2. Once your membership is approved you can watch free art videos, the popular free interview series Creativity Takes Courage and even pay for more in depth courses.

3. Want to take an online course?  We currently offering 30 courses and free videos and you can find them all along the left hand side of the main page under “Courses”.  If you do not see the course you are looking for please click the “View all” at the bottom of the list.

4. Click on the course you are interested in, click the +join in the upper right hand corner, pay and you will be instantly in the course.

5. If you have ANY questions please email

Help Me Choose My New Glasses {survey included}



I love my current glasses by Tom Ford but I love to accessorize and every time I see the awesome glasses from Warby Parker I want them all!

I finally just bit the bullet and ordered five pairs to try on and hopefully find a few new glasses to rotate with my wardrobe and mood.

I was hoping you guys could help me out and give me your opinions.

1. Chamberlain Saddle Sage

2. Baxter Whiskey Tortoise

3. Chandler English Oak

4. Crane Newsprint Grey

5. Oliver Striped Olive

Now that I have tried the glasses out I would go way more bold.  I already have my eyes on a few that I want to try next.

So, what do you think?

What Makes These Girls So Special? {Like I needed to tell you}


I believe in this quote and think about it often.

I am lucky enough to constantly be in the position that I have the opportunity and pleasure to have incredibly talented women and men all around me.

I know that by having people of such talent and quality that it also helps me to grow as a person, artist and business woman.

I think I have the best job in the world.

I get to reach out to some of my favorite creative people again and again and ask them to collaborate on classes or participate in my Creativity Takes Courage interview series.

The newest Studying Under The Masters {portraits and self-portraits} will begin on September 30th.

I wanted to share with you why I chose each of the following women to be a part of the course and to share their incredible work.

I remember the first time I saw Cori Dantini’s work in person at the Cherry Creek Art Festival.  Each piece was a treasure with so many layers that I couldn’t pull myself away.  Her work makes you happy but it also connects deeper because both my sister and I had tears while looking at her work.  The first time I met Cori she had her hair in two little buns on top of her head and her personality reflected her art which I always find to be true about all of us.  Our art shows pieces of us that are sometimes obvious and at other times hidden.  Her work has detail, reflection, color, vintage elements, tenderness and whimsical mixed together.

This is the FIRST time that licensed artist Cori Dantini has ever offered her teaching online!  This is such a huge thing for all of you that are taking the course.

Cori’s work with acrylics, watercolors and ink and creates illustrative and mixed media masterpieces.

I am so honored that Cori will be stepping into this online teaching world with all of us!

Jane Davenport creates whimsical girls and images with her beautiful mastery of watercolors and acrylics.  Jane has an amazing grasp of color and design and connects with her students like few other teachers I know.  I always want our classes to offer art in different styles and mediums and even thought processes.  Jane is wonderful at pulling from inspiration but also her imagination and it shows in her work.  Her teaching style and techniques instantly pull you into her world of color, whimsy and imagination.  It doesn’t hurt that we get to listen to her awesome Australian accent the whole time:-)

Every once in awhile you stop in your tracks while looking at art and you know you have found something new and different and you can’t pull your eyes away.  Robin Fingher creates this kind of art!   Her art is full of color, detail, whimsy and depth.  This is Robin’s first online teaching project and her creative mind will take your art on an adventure.  Who doesn’t’ want a good ol’ adventure in art?  Robin will help take you outside the box and start looking at your art in new and exciting ways!  Robin’s art will also get you talking about art and the meaning behind it.  That is a wonderful place to be.

I can’t say enough beautiful things about Gillian Lee Smith’s work and the depth behind her as a person and her art.  Gillian’s work to me is an exhale and I don’t even know if that makes sense to anyone else.  When I see her art and use of charcoal, inks, oils, imagery I just want to sit and look again and again.  Her work has so many stories contained in each piece and each time I look I see something new. She is generous and open with her process and techniques as are all of the teachers in the Master’s courses.  Gillian will show you new ways to use the mediums you already have in front of you.

I have watched Teresa McFayden’s art evolve over the years and I have been smitten by her use of color and design to create images that are truly her own.  Teresa is no stranger to teaching and bringing artists together.  Her art incorporates her love of color, abstract and playful design.  Get ready to play with new mediums and to explore techniques that will bring new life to your creativity.

Can you believe this line up for teachers?


The course will start off with me studying under the works and techniques of Vincent van Gogh!

My mind is all Vincent all of the time at this point and I can’t wait to explore his creative world with you very soon.

This course is worth more than $600 and would cost thousands if you were to travel and learn in person.

I believe in making my courses affordable so anyone can learn and take high quality classes.

I also believe in always giving people more than they pay for.

This 6 week online art course will begin on September 30th and the videos will be available for two years to watch at your convenience!

This course is $62.oo

To read more about the course I highly recommend reading THIS blog post or heading directly to my creative network.

To register you can go directly to, become a member and register for the course.

If you are already a member of my creative network you can follow this link and pay directly.

You can also register for the course by paying using the paypal button below. If you pay using a button on a blog you will receive an email and course access information within the next week.

I can’t wait to see you in the course and to create together!

IKEA Hack {how we built our kitchen island}


When we made the decision to rip out our existing island we had planned on paying a contractor to do the work.

What did we know and how could we take on a project this big?

We knew we didn’t want what we had but where would we even begin to pick out the insides of the cabinets and basic design?

As we were walking through IKEA one night we both stopped in our tracks and were really looking at some of their island designs.

We didn’t want what IKEA was selling for our island but it allowed us to think outside the box and to realize we could piece together the cabinets that would make our ideal island.

With a little puzzle work, a brother that did electrical and plumping, a husband that dabbles in woodworking and a wife that would do the painting…we were on our way.

All resources are listed at the end.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comment section.

{I don’t think of documenting projects until the last minute so forgive the photo quality}




We purchased different size cabinets that would allow us to have two large cabinets on one side, cabinets under the sink, sink mount (we bought our sink also at IKEA) and a smaller drawer and cabinet to the right of the sink.

We knew we wanted to have the freedom to paint the cabinets over and over if needed so we chose the white unfinished wood cabinets.

As you can see we have gaps around the cabinets because we needed to space them out to create the island size we really desired.

We did the best we could to take advantage of the spaces between the cabinets and to make sure we had charging stations and all the outlets we could need.

On each side of the cabinets we attached 3/4″ MDF to build our custom wainscoting and pull the cabinet space together.

This was very important to me to include the custom woodwork and create an island that looked more like a furniture piece and to also incorporate the design elements that are throughout the house.

Anywhere we had gaps between the cabinet we included MDF to close the space.

Kelly was able to use the larger gap between the two larger cabinets to hide our Wi-Fi access point.  The wood panel is removable using speaker grill fastners.  Pretty clever!

These cabinets also were wired for our charging station, printer and microwave.

From this angle you can see all the spacing that is still visible from the top but all along the sides it had now been closed in.

Kelly and my brother were able to do all of the electrical and plumbing which saved us on money and time because we were often working on the island late at night.

We installed the garbage disposal switch under the sink because we didn’t want to have a hole cut in the marble counter top.  I am still not sure I like it there but I can’t say I would love it on the counter either.

I almost never paint anything without trying out the samples in the space and really living with the choices for a few days.

I think one of the biggest mistakes anyone can make when choosing paint is to not sample them first.   It is worth the time and small amount of money to see what the samples will look like in your space with your lighting.

Don’t ever rely on the paint swatches for a realistic paint color.

We sampled three colors for the island and we ended up choosing Fieldstone by Benjamin Moore in eggshell.

I am still so happy with our choice and the paint has held up beautifully in the space.

We primed and lightly sanded the cabinets before we painted and we even used paint with primer for a better coverage (Aura by Benjamin Moore).

We also primed all of the MDF before we painted.

Before our Carrara marble could be installed we needed to have the island completely built and ready to paint.

At this point in the renovation we had been without water in our kitchen for a full month.

We were really excited to get the counter and sink installed and to get the water back on.

(I will have a whole other post on my thoughts on the marble and why we chose marble for the island)

Our marble was dropped and chipped the first time they came but here they are bringing in our counter a few days later and it was the beginning of a six month customer service nightmare that has not ended.

I don’t want to make this post about that experience but I do want to make sure my local friends and readers know not to use Stone City to fabricate any of your projects.

You can read my Yelp review HERE.


I still can’t believe that we really did this!

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t find the new island so beautiful and functional.

It was so much work and it was hard to not have our kitchen for a month but I would do it again in a second to have this result.


 2 Akurum 36″ base cabinets in birch

1  Akurum 15″ base cabinets with upper drawer in birch

1 Akurum 36″ base sink cabinet in birch

All of our doors and drawers are Ramsjo in primed wood (white) so they could be painted

Glass handles from Hobby Lobby

Fieldstone paint by Benjamin Moore

Faucet by Home Depot (we will be changing it out because it does not reach far enough)

Apron sink from IKEA

Vintage grain sack used for a curtain in place of doors from French Larkspur

Yellow metal stools from Target

You may enjoy these recent posts about our remodel:

*Adding Open Shelving

*Ripping out the built in desk

*Living Room Makeover

*Kitchen Remodel {before and after}