The Story Behind the "Great beyond " Etsy blog Feature!

Thank you Michelle from Etsy Storque for featuring me in " The Great Beyond" Series! I am so happy that the world is able to see my little " taglines" !

after all... Life is just one big " tagline"
here is mine!

This is the story I submitted to Etsy and What I Love about being an artist!
it is much much different than the feature on etsy! please read on!
Having lost both parents at a pretty young age, I still long for the ability to ask them questions about their youth!
I remember calling my mom for her recipes and am so thankful I had her write some of them down. I still wish I could pick up the phone and ask her about her days as a child, about why she never went to the art school she pursued.

As for Dad... He was taken too young and there were so many things I would love to ask him. I remember his old leather suitcase, smelling distinctly of Dial soap and littered with hotel keys of places he had stayed and had forgotten to "drop the key in the nearest post box". I remember him asking me to sit on his suitcase full of perfectly folded business suits, to help close it after he packed for a business trip or when he taught me to tie a double windsor tie, standing on a chair, eye to eye... about the age of 7. He would give me a quarter to polish his shoes, while he would sit patiently in the chair and tell me of his travels!

All of these details are like little pictures stored away in my minds eye! It is from them that I pull the little images that I illustrate.

Life was simpler then. Carefree, full of Love, Laughter, Large family gatherings and friends.

Perhaps that is why I love the simplicity of my illustrations.

My Mother was an artist and about a year before her passing, I remember a conversation about some paper dolls she had made for the sisters from Little Women. "Each paper doll had a complete outfit" she would tell me. Each was done in watercolor with ink outline. She told me that is how she would bide her time when she was young. I had never seen them. I could only imagine how wonderful they were. She would describe her fashions and we would always wonder what happened to them

A month after her death, my sister went to clean out her home, Cleaning everything out, only the bare bones remained. When I arrived, I could not believe how they had sorted through the entire home ( I would still be there now... 10 years later... picking through the trunks, boxes and drawers) There was really nothing but the furnishings left. I tried to find some boxes or personal items that could bring me back to my history. To my amazement, in the back of the closet, long cleaned out, there...tucked behind a file cabinet... was a little manilla envelope. I sat down, opened it up and found dozens upon dozens of her illustratons. These had been what she had told me about! Mostly clothing for the paper dolls, So colorful! So beautiful! I could not believe a young girl could create such beauty and have such a vivid imagination.

It is from these beautiful images that I was inspired to create my little collections.

Fast forward about 10 years, It's Christmas and my son received a special little box of watercolors in his stocking. I saw it on the table and would pass it by. One day I decided to open it and pick up the brush. Without watercolor paper in sight, I opened my desk drawer and found some little manilla shipping tags. I began to paint! Hours went by and I was painting every little image that came to mind. So many thoughts of my childhood. Simple images... Reminiscent of days gone by, Vintage fashions, flowers, reminders of home, wedding cakes, special toys from my youth!

First laying down the watercolor then adding the pen and ink. I would paint whatever popped into my mind. It was like magic! I began painting my "Tag Lines" for family and friends, then for customers at the little shop where I worked. People would stop in for me to paint custom Cards and tags just for them... before their eyes! Seems I had drawn a following!

I decided to share them here on Etsy for all to enjoy! Each is a tiny labor of love!
Kind of like my little way of passing along my history to YOU!

Be sure to take a little time to reminisce and ask a loved one about a favorite recipe or about their travels as a youth. You will be glad you did...before they slip away!


  1. This is a fabulous and very touching story. I'm so pleased that you have shared it with all of us. Your parents sound like wonderful people and they surely passed their gifts on to you. Congratulations to your feature today, it is well deserved. Wishing you oodles of good things to come your way.

  2. wow.. I love how you follow so many of your dreams at once, little by little.. capturing your joy. Good for you!

  3. Love your story, Martha! Congratulations on your Etsy feature, woman of many talents!

  4. Martha, you are such an inspiration to me!! You have so many talents! Thanks for sharing your story and congrats on your fabulous Etsy Feature!

  5. your illustrations are free and so lovely!
    thank you for sharing your story and your art.

  6. Martha, thank you for sharing this story, I have a very similar story but with my grandmother, she is 93 now and my favorite conversations are about her childhood. I have always drawn on cards I give her, you have inspired me to make a drawing of one of her childhood memories for mother's day. Thank you thank you for sharing your story.
    You are a very talented artist!

  7. thank you all for your kind comments!
    What a pleasure to hear from you all!
    happy Mothers day!


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