Why I support my daughter walking out of school…

On Wednesday, March 14 there is scheduled to be a national school walk outnot only in remembrance of the 17 shooting victims from Parkland, FL, but also as a call to action for Congress to pass tighter gun control laws.

We have discussed this issue with our teenage daughter many times over the past couple of weeks. Discussions have ranged from anxiety-fueled to calm. How do you convince your kid that they will be SAFE at school when you can’t be 100% sure? All we can do as parents is outline that the school has acknowledged the possibility of violence, and has prepared with drills and has a police officer on campus. How do you make your child feel secure and in control when they clearly are NOT??

I feel the walk out will give these kids, most of whom are too young to vote, A VOICE. This will be an opportunity to unite with other like-minded kids, raise their voices against gun violence, and demand better control from Congress. In this nationwide “protest”, these kids (and parents, teachers and administrators) will hopefully demonstrate their demand for SAFE EDUCATIONAL SPACES. This is the perfect way for students to show that.


In addition to raising their voices, my hope for students, is that in coming together for these 17 minutes, it will be a powerful way to FEEL and express their emotions of fear, sadness, anger, strength, and to realize that they ARE NOT ALONE.

  • I just received an email from our principal stating that they are aware that many students on our high school campus plan to participate in this Nationwide School Walkout, and while they promote academic pursuits, they also recognize the need for student-led civic engagement and social emotional needs. My understanding is that students will be supported in a brief walk out as long as it remains peaceful and on campus. Yes!

For more info on the Nationwide School Walkout:




We’re all in this together

This may not be a very PC post but my mama bear heart is bursting at the seams with too many emotions.

Yesterday a 12 year old boy in a neighboring city took a knife to school and stabbed another 12 year old boy. A few days ago my friend’s daughter’s school was placed in lock down when the office received a threat. Only days before that, another friend’s daughter was in her high school which was locked down for 2.5 hours because of threats found scrawled on a note. Things like this are happening DAILY across the nation. Kids are picking up weapons and taking them to school.. something is WRONG here and its not JUST lack of gun control.

I don’t want to get into the topic of gun control.. I am not anti-gun, but I am not anti-gun control either. Its a tough issue, but I think this issue with school shootings, violence and bullying boils down to something else…

WHAT happened to PARENTING??

IMG_0167Times have changed a lot from when I was in high school. I believe that parenting is harder now that ever because social media and digital devices allow our kids to be in touch with the world, the community and each other 24/7. If we as parents aren’t sticking our noses into their business, we aren’t doing our jobs. You can’t escape any newspaper or news site without SOME headline about school violence lately and so often the parents had NO CLUE about what was going on. Kids do NOT have any right to privacy, I’m sorry.. but they don’t. Maybe they can EARN a certain amount of privacy but as a parent we HAVE to know what is going on with them and their friends.

I’m sure many disagree with this. Heck, I KNOW many of my daughter’s “friends” parents don’t agree or don’t care, because I really don’t think their kids would act the way they do if the parents had a CLUE as to what their kids posted online. Our daughter knows that as long as we pay for the cell phone, we can access it ANY TIME. Likewise her computer, tablet, bedroom, etc. Have I gone into her room and nosed around, hell yes! Do I read texts and look at her Instagram feed? You betcha!  WHY? Because I want to know what is going on in her life…

Does she resent this? Maybe a little. But here’s the thing..  because she knows I might look at any time (and have) she TALKS to us. Maybe too much. LOL.. I laugh because I don’t really need to hear every little bit of gossip and drama going on between “A & B”, but she doesn’t hide stuff. Her friends still think I’m a cool Mom and they all talk in front of me.. even about the embarrassing stuff, the sad stuff and the scary stuff.

So, I think this is the starting point. We (society) need to stop worrying about being our kids friends and PARENT them. We need to not be concerned if our kid is mad at our decision or hate our rules, but be concerned with teaching our kids to be KIND, compassionate people. To be self confident and helpful and GOOD citizens. We need to teach boys that girls are equals and we need to teach girls that they deserve to be treated as such. We need to empower our kids to succeed and help them if they are reaching out for help, and we need to not be afraid to ask for and offer HELP when we see a child is struggling. And if someone is showing any kind of warning signals.. for god’s sake.. SAY SOMETHING!! Don’t wait.. we’re all in this together!


I’ve been a little quiet over here. I have SO MUCH going inside my head but some hasn’t really seemed like the right stuff to blog about. That may change, but right now, lots of emotional, unresolved feelings swirling around. There is a post draft that poured out with a ton of tears but I need to feel a little stronger to go back to that one.
Behind the scenes stuff IS happening..

I’ve been painting up a storm and working through that pile of great reclaimed wood scraps I got from a friend. It was a nice, not too windy day the other day so I took advantage of the sun to get outside and seal and add hangers to a bunch ff painted pieces. As you can see, my supervisor was sleeping on the job.

In addition, I tackled a couple of BIG To Do items from my list that I just haven’t had time to do. My main VA client is away on a trip, leaving me some “me” time so I FINALLY ordered a stamp and BUSINESS cards! I feel so legit, and they shipped today! Yay! You’ll have to get one to see the back.. ha ha!!

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OK, short and sweet, but back to work!! I need to photograph some signs!!


Brushing on wood

You guys… its been insane here. In a good way but still insane. I need an assistant to me being an assistant. LOL I have been sneaking in some painting though..  My friend Kay of Bravo Wood Creations (find her on Facebook) lets me dig through all their scraps so last week I got a big trash bag full of reclaimed wood bits and pieces. Hubby was sweet and pulled all the rusty nails from them over the weekend so I could just do the fun part and paint! Here’s a little sneaky peek. IMG_7509

These are stacked on the coffee table in our family room which is where I currently am working because I still don’t have a dedicated space but we did order my studio! I’ll post on that soon!!

What would YOU like to see on a sign??


IMG_0097Welcome to Brush & Barnwood.. my brand new blog. While the blog is new, I am certainly not new to blogging. I blogged under Bluhm Studios for years, and years, and last year revived my old(ish) blog Short Attention Span Studios when things started to point the direction that I needed to be writing again. Somehow it never really felt like the  right fit and I couldn’t get comfortable there. My life was definitely on a new path and with a new year, I decided to just create a new space to better represent where I am now.

Why Brush & Barnwood? Brush represents my lettering journey. Hand lettering is something I have been interested in for some time but it wasn’t until I lost my Mom rather unexpectedly to cancer (f*$# cancer) that I took the plunge. Amid my grief, I found I needed something to kick start my muse because I couldn’t face my studio and I wasn’t doing anything creative, which made me even more depressed. I decided to sign up for a class from Amanda Arneill in early 2016 and committed myself to practicing and  learning. I kept that commitment to myself and lettered nearly EVERY DAY for a year. I did drills upon drills, practiced my lines, my loops, my swashes and extenders and descenders and more. It WAS NOT a natural thing for me, it did NOT come easily, but I kept on because focusing on learning to letter kept me NOT focused on not having my Mom.

As time progressed, I ventured to new mediums.. felt pens, chalk pens and a love affair with water colors that consumed me for months. We moved into a new home ) I’m Emmagetting to the barnwood) mid 2017 and again my muse decided to take a break. That was until a friend decided she needed a a bunch of hand lettered signs for her daughter’s wedding. She delivered the boards and after staring at them for a few days I took a deep breath and dove in.
That started me lettering pretty much anything that wasn’t nailed down…

…and thus the Barnwood… we were fortunate to be able to purchase and move to our dream property last year; A 5-acre ranch on the outskirts of town where we could have our horses, open space and fresh air complete with a barn! Studio coming soon!!

So this blog, I hope, will continue with my new life as a mini rancher, horse owner, lover of rustic things, DIYer and hand letterer. Stay tuned…