The Artwork of Yelena Bryksenkova

I was browsing Etsy today and was inspired by the colorful and playful artwork of Yelena Bryksenkova.


The Reader


Kitchen print

I love how she includes a cute curled up elephant in her illustrations ūüôā

I Love Old Photos

I went to check my email today, on a cold, wet, depressing day and found something that made me smile.

It was an email letting me know a project I did for Anastasia Leng, the co-founder of Makeably, was featured in a nice write up on Makeably’s front page. Made my day! See the article here.


-Photo from Anastasia of her grandmother and the drawing.

Anastasia wanted a drawing based off of an old photo of her grandmother. The photo was beautiful and I enjoyed creating my own interpretation of it as a drawing.

I was inspired after working on Anastasia’s project to make more drawings from old photographs.

In fact, I have a project going on where you can get a free drawing based off of an old photo if you submit the photo to me and let me use it in a project called the “Photos and Short Stories Project”. Read more about that here.

I’m also working on using old photos for a illustrated serial I’m writing called “On the Near North Side” – stay tuned for updates on that. You can also follow that blog here.

February – Projects

February always seems to fly by. I was lacking a bit of motivation in the beginning of the month, but now that it’s almost over – I need to get some projects done. I’ll be taking 2 online courses and an evening class on campus starting March 10, so I’d love to finish the Omaha Project mural before then. I also want to enter the “Women working” drawing into a contest that has a due date for submissions of April 1.


Got an Art Desk this month, by the way!



Gotta kick it into gear! Would love feedback on how the drawings look. I promise, more pictures and updates will be coming.

One more project that I want to do is a shop video for my Etsy Shop. Gotta try out my hubby’s digital camera that he just revealed that he’s had all this time! Glad it’s usable now. It will take much better pictures than my phone! (Which is why there aren’t many good pictures of my works in progress.)

Anyway, what are you working on these days? Please share!

New this Week

Yesterday was my first anniversary of marriage to my wonderful husband, Jeff.


It was great to take Friday off and enjoy a long weekend together. On Friday we checked out Do Space – a place with free technology for everyone to use. They had Mac Desktops, a 3D printer, a laser cutter, and spaces for startups, and even teens to meet and collaborate.

Then we checked out The Approach Climbing Gym. Jeff designed the sign earlier this year and was pleased that if is so close to where we live. Two of our friends joined us. Jeff and the staff taught us how to use the auto-belay and harness to climb. We also had to show we understood how to fall safely.

We had a great time, even if we got a bit sore.

I also had a few orders last week. An Adele paperdoll, a kitty figurine, a custom drawing, and a custom reptile figurine.

Here they are below:





It’s fun to work on a variety of projects!

Also, today marks the start of what I’m calling a Soft Whole 30. We tried the Whole 30 before – and there were some things we wished we didn’t have to cut out. Alcohol, regular bacon, and yogurt. This time we’re keeping those in our diet and we’ll see what happens.

Stay tuned :-).


I’m kind of sad that more people haven’t reached out with submissions. That being said, I’m truly grateful for the ones who have.

I still need people of various backgrounds and areas of town to submit – West Omaha, South Omaha, Midtown, North Omaha, Downtown, Millard, Elkhorn… Submissions can be sent to

Here are some of the submissions I have so far:













To learn more see this post on The Omaha Project.

Update on The Omaha Project


Photo submissions are beginning to roll in for The Omaha Project!

In addition to drawing the people of Omaha, this large drawing will include well known buildings from different regions of the city.

When you Google Omaha – you usually see a view of downtown and the riverfront, right? But is that all there is to Omaha?

What buildings do you associate with
the part of Omaha where you grew up, live or work in currently?

Please let me know in the comment section below.

The Omaha Project


Photos mainly from my family photo album

So I had an idea yesterday and I need some help. I want to create a large mural-like drawing of different families, of different races in different regions of Omaha through the years. If you submit a photo of your family (by e-mailing I will include it in the drawing and you will get a free 8 x 10 print! This drawing will eventually be the main cover for a writing project that is in the works.

I’m excited about this and hope to hear from you!

About Roommates


Girls by TatyanaIlieva

Over a year ago I lived with 5 other women in an old¬†four¬†three bedroom apartment. It was an experience. During that time, I wrote up a little parody based on what life was like living with so many women. Not sure if I’ll finish it, but it makes me smile.

It was called: The 6 Spinsters of Paladino

It was summer. You could feel the heat radiating off of the concrete and the stickiness of your clothes in your nooks and crannies. The way the sweat rolled down your forehead to be diverted by your brows, somehow became normal and routine. It was summer after all.
Lyla hoisted an overstuffed bag of luggage with a grunt into the trunk of her car. Her mother stood pensively, with arms folded at the doorway of their apartment building.
The day had arrived. Lyla was leaving the nest, or at least testing her wings. She was 31 years old.
Like any wise mother bird, Charlotte was not going to interfere. That did not mean that she was not going to worry.
Lyla walked across the parking lot to say good bye to her mother.
“All loaded up?” Charlotte asked.
“Yep. I’m dreading hauling all of that back here if this doesn’t work out.”
“Well, we’ll help you.”
“I’m a bit nervous, Mom.”
“Just be yourself. Be courteous and pick up after yourself. You should be fine.”
Lyla pulled her mother into a quick embrace, and fearing that she might lose her courage to see this long awaited flight from the nest through, let go and with a hasty wave, made her way to her car.
Paladino stood on the edge of the city’s downtown. Vines climbed its sides and bats inhabited its rooftops. It was brick and stucco, with a creeky, rotting set of back stairs.
Once owned by an Italian family by the same name, Paladino had seen the passing of 8 decades as well as¬†numerous owners and tenants. At the time of¬†Lyla’s arrival the¬†current¬†inhabitants were diverse to say the least.
Birgitte seemed to bounce from excitement as she animatedly told Lyla the stories of their neighbors.
“Just below us¬†we have James and Harriet, they’re British.”
“Mmhmm, very interesting couple. James is 15 years older than Harriet, I think, and they’re musicians. You’ll hear them play on the balcony¬†in the evenings while the weather’s nice.”
“Is that what they do for a living?”
“No, not sure what James does, but Harriet works at the Library if I remember right.” Birgitte, must have decided she was hungry mid-thought and began rifling through the cabinets for a¬†pot and the ingredients for spaghetti. She didn’t miss a beat, “Next door, is vacant right now, but we used to have the most darling old Vietnamese couple there. One time they let me taste some of their dinner and oh! It was to die for. Just below them is Paul. He’s a retired teacher and mostly keeps to himself. I think he’s divorced. It’s just been¬†him and a cat or two down there for years.”
At the word ‘cat’, Birgitte’s cat Rupert lumbered in from where he had been perched a few feet away in the living room and collapsed at Lyla’s feet.
Birgitte reached a bare foot over to rub Rupert’s speckled belly while draining the noodles in the sink.
“On the first floor, below James and Harriet, there’s two girls, they’ve been here forever, Sasha and Erica. I think they’re trying to be doctors or lawyers or something that takes forever. From time to time they have a big party and make a lot of noise. But that’s only once every semester or so. Next to them¬†are Freddy and Max, they’re a couple…”
The front door opened, and in walked Josie, and immediately it became quite apparent that she’d had a bad day.
“Unbelievable!” She shouted and dropped her grocery bags on the ground, startling Rupert to his feet and a near heart attack.
So do you think this is worth finishing? If you happen to read this, please let me know.

New Projects and a Friend’s New Shop

So I’ve mentioned here that I want to write a serialized zine, right? I’m working on the cover for the first book: Flight. My husband, who is a graphic designer at a sign company, is helping me pick out the right font to go with the very “trippy” (as he puts it) cover that I designed. Here’s what I have so far below:

Flight cover

I also wanted to mention that a friend of ours, Jonathan, recently listed his first item in his Etsy shop ArtOfBurns. He is very talented with graphic design and pyrography. So please, check it out!

Stylized Owl by ArtOfBurns

Stylized Owl by ArtOfBurns

Whole30 Recap

So we didn’t make it to day 30. :-(. But, I blame it in our inedible pineapple meatballs.

It was day 23. We were baking the meatballs while we went on a run. Then we had to go to the store and come home and eat before going to a concert. There was a good aroma when we walked into the apartment, so we figured the meatballs would be tasty. I started trying to salvage our wilty salad greens to make a side salad for each of us. Jeff tasted the meatballs. They were watery and didn’t taste at all like they smelled.

We had about an hour to go to the store and get to the concert.

“After the store, let’s get King Kong,” I suggested.

So we ordered two medium rare top-sirloin steaks with fries and a Greek salad. We figured that was close enough to Whole30 compliant in an emergency situation. But the salads had feta cheese and what was steak without steak sauce? Fries without ketchup? (We didn’t eat the pita bread).

So I said, “Let’s just end it.”

Neither of us were miraculously healthier. We were slimmer, though. We decided to keep some elements of the diet. But we would drink alcohol and use our condiments.

And I wouldn’t have to cook everyday!

Here’s some of my journal drawings from the challenge:

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