Nov 29, 2015

sketching favorites and December sketching list

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving break. I've been eating all the leftover stuffing & pie and have been packaging orders like a crazy person so THANK YOU to everyone that purchased & supported my shop this year. You continue to bless me more than you can ever know.

The shop is closed for the rest of the year but you can now find some of my prints over at Maker + Ink.

pleasant words by lesley zellers

It's a new site that offers a variety of prints from artists all across the country and I'm honored to be included. Here's a snippet from the about page:
At Maker + Ink, our passion is creating art that declares God's truth and looks great in our homes.

We are excited to offer a curated collection of modern, stylish, faith-based art prints created by a small group of talented designers from across the country.

Instead of clicking from website to website in search of the perfect scripture print, you'll find a carefully selected assortment of designs all in one place."

AND, it's about to be December! (where did the year go!?) Do you know what that means? A new month for the sketch-a-day challenge I started back in October! For the month of December my friend, Lindsay, owner/painter/letterer/artist behind pen + paint will be leading hosting the challenge! You can see the daily prompts on her blog. I am so excited to draw with her and I hope you join in.

Since we're talking about sketching, I frequently get asked what my favorite tools are for the job so I'm sharing some of my most used basic supplies.

Click on any image for source.

For drawing: pencils, pens and markers. 

Basic #2 pencil is pretty much all I ever use. My pen collection, on the other hand, is quite extensive but these Faber-Castell Pitt and Pilot G-Tec-C are my current favorites. The Pitt are waterproof and come in different sizes and the G-Tec makes a super fine line.

For painting: watercolors and watercolor paper. 

I've used Prang in the past but I recently invested in this travel set of watercolors and am really pleased with them. There isn't black in the set so I just use my calligraphy ink to darken when needed. And watercolor paper. They key here is the weight. Make sure you get 140lb so the paper won't ripple.


Paper: sketchbook & notebooks.

For a sketchbook, I like 5.5x8.5 hardbound with band to keep it closed and I like the smaller size so I can fit it in my bag. And for notebooks, I prefer dot grid books like this northbooks set I found on amazon.


That's it for my favorite basic supplies. For a more detailed list of all my favorite design-related things, go to my design faqs page.

Now, grab a pencil and some paper and get sketching with us!

Nov 24, 2015

new cards, free download, weekend sales info & more

There are so many things I want to tell you about so let's just get started.

First, I launched my little card line yesterday after much encouraging by my friends on instagram and was completely blown away by the support and all the orders. So I just wanted to pop in to say thank you!

pun cards set by lesley zellers

Several designs sold out pretty fast and there are just a few left of others. I guess you people really do appreciate a good pun!

For those that don't follow me on instagram, @lesleyzellers. I wanted to tell you how this funny little line came to be.

It all started with a pretty bad watercolor painting attempt that I sent to my friend for feedback. I was trying something new and just wasn't feeling it. She gave me great feedback and basically told me to try again.

Then I posted this on instagram:
veggies are rad by lesley zelelrs

with the caption:

Veggies are rad. Day 3 of #sketchadaywithhomeagain (a day late): radish.
Here's a little backstory: I sent a fellow design friend a watercolor I attempted. She told me (in the nicest way possible) that it looked like a beginner's work. I sent all the ������ emojis because that's exact what I am. I've never taken a formal painting class but have started playing around with it more. This same friend got me started on hand lettering after referring me to a @skillshare class. So I joked & asked if there was a watercolor class on skillshare. Turns out there is. So instead of putting the brushes away & admitting defeat - I took a class & am challenging myself to doing November prompts in watercolors. ����. Practice makes better, right?  
SO. All that to say. Honest friends that challenge & sharpen you are hard to find. Hold on to them. And if someone tells you you can't paint - by golly, take some classes, practice & punch those paints in the face. And lastly - that thing that you don't think you can do - go do it. Today. Mini blog is over. Carry on with your Wednesday. #sketchadaywithlrz

Sorry, apparently emojis don't work here.

So I decided to challenge myself to get better at watercolors. The next sketch-a-day prompt for the month, shared by @homeagaincreative, was dog. How in the world do you paint a dog? I didn't know but I do love a good hot dog and that fit, so a little hot dog character was born.

pun cards by lesley zellers

Then came encouraging. More prompts begging to be characters. And a whole set of cards were born.

pun cards by lesley zellers

And now they are in my shop. Crazy, right?! All because I tried something new. And while I'm not the best watercolorer after nearly a month of painting, I think I've learned some things and improved slightly - even if the month took a new direction in the form of challenging myself to come up with funny characters for each prompt!

So I stand by what I said on that post: ...that thing that you don't think you can do - go do it. Today.

You never know what will happen in a month!

Second, that free download!

As a small thank you for putting up with my humor and supporting my cards, I'm giving you guys a free set of Thanksgiving tags to download so you can print, cut and use as you wish!


There are five designs ready to use for little notes, place cards or thank yous. Download them here.

Next up, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday Sales!!!

Every year I love doing so pretty great sales in my shop and wanted to share some codes for you to use in the next few of days. And a reminder, my shop will close for the year after Saturday.

These codes will work both Friday and Saturday:
  • Spend $20 - get 15% off with code shopsmall15
  • Spend $50 - get 25% off with code shopsmall25
  • Spend $100 or more - get 35% off with code shopsmall35
And there may be a flash sale so stay tuned! It will be announced on instagram, @lesleyzellers.

One last thing!

The sketch-a-day challenge I started in October has a new host for December! I'm so excited to announce the the super talented, Lindsay, of  pen and paint, will be leading us for another month of drawing together!!! Follow her on instagram @pen_and_paint, for the prompts for the month. And thanks again to @homeagaincreative for leading us in November.

That's it! Now have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!


Oct 28, 2015

Draw with me, err, with Lori Danelle!

Where did October go? It seems like yesterday the month began and I was anticipating my nearing due date. Which was then followed by the longest week of my life when said due date came and went. But now here I am with a 2.5 week old baby boy! Sheesh!

All that good stuff and I'm close to actually finishing a project I started!

october sketch-a-day with @lesleyzellers

Woohoo for seeing something to the end. I'm high fiving myself because if you know me well, you know I start a LOT of things but rarely finish them. So I'm really proud that I've kept up with my October sketch-a-day challenge.

What started as a simple way to challenge myself to draw more, you can see the post here, ended up being so much more. I found an amazing little community of artists wanting to try to challenge themselves too. This little instagram community has grown into a supportive and encouraging place for artists of all walks and experience levels. Some tried sketching for the first time while others sharpened their already amazing skills.

It's been such a blessing and I'm so thankful and really humbled to be part of such a fun thing on instagram so THANKYOU to everyone that joined in the challenge - one sketch or every single day, over 700 sketches to date! You rock.

And while I'd love to continue next month, adjusting to life with a newborn and family of five needs a bit more of my attention. So, even though it is hard to step away, I'm leaving you in great hands! The sketch-a-day challenge will continue next month and my super talented friend, Lori Danelle, of Home Again Creative will be hosting you through November!!!

You can find her on instagram, @homeagaincreative, or online, She will be posting the prompts for November so make sure you check her out.

I will be sketching when I can and I'm really excited to challenge myself further. Lori will be posting a new hashtag unique to the November challenge so make sure you use it but feel free to use my #sketchadaywithlrz to include your drawings in the original feed if you want to keep them all together.

My Boy is Here!!!

I'm a little late in posting this and will be sharing more later, but since we've had our guy with our family for two weeks now, I figured I better share a quick update.

More on his birth story later but he was born a week late and healthy as can be at 7 lbs 4 oz and 19.5" long.

birth day

We are totally smitten with him and soaking up all the newborn goodness.

looking a bit like his sisters when they were newborns

boy clothes and accessories are fun - 2 weeks

Thank you all for your prayers and support while we were waiting for him to arrive! We are so happy and so blessed.

Oct 3, 2015

Draw with Me!

A couple of days ago I shared a fun little sketching challenge for the month of October on instagram.

october sketch-a-day with @lesleyzellers

Sometimes I get in a rut creatively and need a spark and since fall is my second favorite season (after spring) I decided to challenge myself to sketching something every day for one month. And since my shop is on vacation while I wait for my third baby to arrive so I figured the timing couldn't be better - other than having a baby at some point in the month.

I wrote up a quick list of daily prompts to make it easy on myself. Each day has a word. Each day something different to draw.

I shared my list on instagram inviting others to join in the fun. In part because I need the accountability and in part because a lot of people ask how to get started drawing or lettering and I thought it would be a good nudge to get people to just start!

You can join in too and share your daily sketches with the hashtag #sketchadaywithLRZ

Here's the list for the month:
  1. leaves
  2. pie
  3. "fall y'all"
  4. acorns
  5. sunflower
  6. fair
  7. campfire
  8. plaid
  9. hay
  10. boots
  11. football
  12. apples
  13. "warm & cozy"
  14. owl
  15. umbrella
  16. barn
  17. "old truck"
  18. corn
  19. pinecone
  20. berries
  21. "sweater weather"
  22. blanket
  23. antlers/deer
  24. candy
  25. cat
  26. hot cocoa
  27. spider
  28. "spooky"
  29. pumpkin
  30. bat
  31. "trick or treat"
If you want to print a list for easy reference, I made a little square sheet that you can download here.

Last but not least! I turned my day 3 sketch, "it's fall y'all," into a printable for you to color!

its fall yall

Here's the link for the free download: it's fall y'all. I'd love to see how you color it so make sure you tag me (@lesleyzellers) if you end up posting it on instagram!!!

I'm also going to attempt to keep all my sketches updated on my flickr album "october sketch-a-day." Lofty goals. Lofty. Goals.

Jul 28, 2015

Summer Backyard Garden Workshop - RECAP!

Well it's taken a little longer than I'd like to share about our first Backyard Garden Workshop but better late than never.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

Before I start, I have to say a HUGE thank you to my friend, Jessie, who came over and took pictures that day. Not only is she one of the funniest gals I know, but she also has a huge heart and is an amazingly talented photographer. Pretty much all the photos posted here were taken by her - and I can't say thank you enough for capturing these memories of our very first workshop. Love you friend.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

Earlier this month, my husband and I hosted a little gardening workshop in our backyard. The weather was hot be bearable - it was an Oklahoma July, afterall. The group of people that attended, coming from all over Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri, well they were just amazing! We could not have asked for more encouraging and kind people to be around to talk all things gardening and to take a chance on attending our very first workshop.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

My sister stopped by the day before the workshop to beautify the backyard in a way I didn't think was even possible.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

She hung buntings, lanterns and fabric, arranged flowers, books and trays, moved furniture around and just really made the space feel extra special. I wish I had an ounce of her styling skills - maybe there would be some pictures or art on my walls.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

She also had the help of my friend, Taylor. He is a super-styling-guru and works for West Elm. He brought some amazing goodies from the Tulsa store for the workshop.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

AND they provided us with a counter top compost bin to give away! I think they are sold out now but it you ever see one in stock, get it! It really is no odor and is great for all those kitchen scraps.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

The workshop started in the morning and no morning get-together at my house is complete without donuts. Wendy, of Livi Lee's Donuts, provided us with the cutest, sweetest donuts ever.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

I had my fair share throughout the day. And just a word to the wise, if you find yourself near Sand Springs in the morning - make sure you stop by her shop and get a sausage cheese roll. They are the best I've ever had.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

And you may as well grab a few donuts too.

Once everyone arrived we did some introductions. It was so great to hear a little bit about everyone and why there were here. Some have never tried growing a single thing and were just trying to get some motivation and confidence to start. Some have tried without much success and were looking for helpful tips. And others had experience and do very well gardening but were looking for some new ideas of different methods to incorporate. Whatever the reason they were here, I'm so glad they all were.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

zellers backyard garden workshop - photos by

Eric and I shared a little about our past and how and why we started gardening.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

It was such a blessing for me to watch my husband speak on things he's so passionate about and gifted in. I won't go into depth about our background but most of you know it pretty much started with family. My grandpa and grandma could and pretty much did grow just about anything in their middle-of-the-city backyard garden and my husband developed an appreciation and obsession with watching them. He started using methods from my grandpa to start his own garden and I just got obsessed by default.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos 

Gardening and cooking are the two main things that bring my husband and I the closest. It's when we are active in those that we talk the most, laugh the most and challenge and each other the most often. There's something about getting your hands dirty while working alongside the love of your life that just opens up areas to grow together.

While we share a common love of gardening, I joked that we were very different in our approaches - he's the engineer that thinks everything through and likes in depth books with fancy terminology and really big conceptual thinking, whereas I like pretty pictures and simplified ideas. I think we play off each others strengths pretty well.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

So many amazing artist's provided gifts for everyone that came out so I packaged them up in little bags for each person.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

backyard garden workshop 

Gingiber / rise and shine card / @gingiber
Pen+Paint / happiness is homemade / @pen_and_paint / letterpress cards & calendar / @squirrelsgonewild
Recipe for Crazy / companion planting cards / @lesleyzellers
Tiny Prints / garden notebook / @tinyprints

Check out my instagram feed later today for a chance to win your own set of awesome swag!

And Stinger's Nursery, a local nursery I've talked about many times here on the blog, totally spoiled us with THOUSANDS of seed packets for everyone and so many different things to giveaway.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

They provided garden tools, gloves, some of the highest quality fertilizers and SO much more. I cannot say thank you enough for everything they sent over for our guests.

backyard garden workshop

If you are local, you need to check them out - and take your kids because there are fish tanks, birds, cats and the sweetest dog in the main building and even chickens roaming the outdoor area! My girls love it and have pretty much grown up visiting the nursery. It's off 41st St between Sheridan and Memorial.

Together we shared on our experience with planting from seed versus buying plants, the importance of composting, some permaculture principles we have tried implementing, different planting methods and companion planting, successes and failures and so much more.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

We walked through our garden and how we are where we are with it and how and why we transitioned from rows to more of an organic layout.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

Then we went across the street to visit our neighbor's garden and see his 1 lb. tomato!

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

backyard garden workshop

He offered a different approach to gardening and gave some helpful tips and dates on when he plants different things. It was fun to see his excitement at passing down years of growing knowledge to our guests.

Eric also did a little container planting demo and talked soil structure, planting basics and some companion planting.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

backyard garden workshop

We wrapped up with a little picnic lunch of chicken salad sandwiches, a fresh salad with goodies from our garden & homemade dressing (recipe here), chips and sweet tea all packaged in the cutest containers from Shop Sweet Lulu!

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

I cannot even handle how cute her supplies make parties and I really love that everything was recyclable!!! Thank you so much, Shop Sweet Lulu!

While everyone was enjoying their lunches, we had some time for final questions and further discussion.

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

About an hour after everyone left I realized I forgot to set out the ice cream. I may just do cookies next time so I don't forget!

Zellers Backyard Garden workshop - photos by

And speaking of next time! We have had so many requests to do more workshops. Honestly, I'm just blown away by the response and never dreamed so many people would want to learn more about gardening. While we aren't planning one this year, I am due to have our third baby in October, afterall, we are working on dates for next year!

We are currently planning an early spring and late spring workshop and possibly early summer workshop. 

I am so excited about those spring ones and can't wait to share more. But for now, since we had so much interest and requests for more, we started a waiting list for upcoming workshops, if you want to be on the list, just email me at lesley(at)recipeforcrazy(dot)com. The waiting list does not guarantee a spot for the next workshop but those on the list will be emailed the dates and registration links before they are announced anywhere else. So the people on the list gets first dibs on seats before registration is public.

And for fun, today only, leave a comment with your email and I'll send you a printable PDF of the composting cheat sheet I included in everyone's workshop packet!

compost cheat sheet

Thank you again to our AMAZING workshop sponsors:
Stringer Nursery -
West Elm - / @westelm / @westelmtulsa / #mywestelm
Livi Lee's - / @livileesdonuts / #liveleesdonuts
Shop Sweet Lulu - / @shopsweetlulu / #partylikealulu

And thank you to the talented swag bag sponsors:
Gingiber / @gingiber
Pen+Paint / @pen_and_paint / @squirrelsgonewild
Recipe for Crazy / @lesleyzellers
Tiny Prints / @tinyprints

Thanks again for decorating Taylor and Ashley and thank you, Jessie, for capturing the day in photos.

And THANK YOU to all the people who came out. You made the day one I won't forget and am so thankful for the time we had talking and getting to know each other better and share common dreams and passions. Thank you for blessing us.