On Christmas eve my doorbell rang- I answered to find an enormous flat cardboard parcel on the porch, addressed by one of my dearest friends, Katharine, who lives in Beijing. She told me she was sending a large box, but I couldn't fathom what would be in a 4x5 ft flat box. When I opened it, I found this large yellow bird, painted by her sister, Laura Norris . Laura is an artist living in Asheville, NC, with her husband Dan, twin sons, and daughter. All of Laura's children are under the age of six. She recently opened a studio at Riverview Artists in the historic River Arts District in Asheville. As part of her first holiday open studio, Laura made a large flock of vividly colored folksy birds, including this happy yellow one. Gary and I immediately hung the bird over our pantry- it's gorgeous shiny yellow has been a substitute for the sunshine during these past few grey and rainy weeks since Christmas.

I have long been a fan of Laura's paintings- they are whimsical, vividly colored pieces that celebrate everyday life. More than her paintings, however, I admire how she's been able to keep her creative spark alive as a mother of three children. It can be so easy to get mired in the cycle of laundry, dinner, lunches, toys in every room of the house. The presence of creative, artistic mothers in the blogosphere inspires me to devote more time to my own work, just as Laura's bird reminds me every day to use the time I have to go up and MAKE something.

Between Christmas and New Years, Laura's bird kept chirping at me to get up to the studio and create something birdy. This teapot and sugar bowl came together so quickly- in under an hour, start to finish. There's still cleanup work to do before I bisque it, but I'm pleased with this lighthearted direction. On that note, it's time to get me to the studio!