All Posts by Tara Reed

Interview on Fifty Jewels

I was interviewed by a friend, fellow artist and now blogger extraordinaire, Kimberly Montgomery.

I shared my journey with her on a recent Coffee Talk post so if you want to hop on over and learn more about where I started, where I've been and where I'm heading, click here. (You can also see my hairstyles through the ages!)

While I wrote the answers to the interview questions, it was a little weird to go back and read it! I often fall into the trap of focusing more on the things I still want to do than stopping and acknowledging what I've accomplished. I'm working on that – and hope you will too if you are like me. I really appreciate the questions Kimberly asked because it did make me stop and reflect – something we all need to do more. 🙂

fifty jewels

Here's what Fifty Jewels is all about, in Kimberly's words:

I created this blog for women who love fun, crave the unique and are totally behind choosing joy.  If that sounds like you, you’re in the right place!

Life’s full of fun stuff, and that’s what I bring to you. Cool things, great places and clever ideas to help you add more delight to your day.  After all, life is about choices — let’s make good ones.

Hope you jump over and read the interview and leave a comment – here, there or both! 

– Tara Reed

Gift Bags at the Dollar Tree!

Some people think going to large chains like The Dollar Tree is bad for small business in the US… well here's another perspective.

Before the holidays you see a lot of very black and white posts on social media – “Boycott big box stores – shop local”.  So where does that leave a little local girl who makes her living with things sold in the big box stores?  In a pickle if everyone were to listen to these pleas!

I'm a small business (just me – that's as small as it gets!) and I have 3 gift bag designs in The Dollar Tree ‪now. Many of my US artist friends are on these bags a lot too. Nothing is black and white…

So today I say, support small businesses / US artist and go buy some gift bags at the Dollar Tree! (The shark, cupcake and dog are all mine.)

Thank you in advance! 🙂

– Tara Reed

Gift Bags at the Dollar Tree - Tara Reed Designs

The day my son turned 22…

The day my son turned 22 is today!  August, 31, 2015.  It seems like just yesterday and a lifetime ago that he was born. I had an idea of what motherhood would be like and no idea at the the same time. We've been through some adventures that's for sure!

A few things my son has done in the past 22 years…

  • learned to crawl, walk and run
  • learned to talk, yell, pout and negotiate
  • learned to ride a bike, recover from a fall, ski, skateboard and drive
  • learned to read, write, report a stolen bike to the police, travel half way around the world by himself and how to fix a broken toilet handle
  • made me smile, made me cry, made me proud and made me shake my head
  • gained 142 lbs and grown 50 inches (that's 4'2″)

In the same time, I have…

  • gotten divorced, dated and remarried
  • learned to decorate cakes, quilt, scrapbook and how to use Photoshop
  • started a business, started and sold another and started yet another
  • bought and sold 9 houses, moved 8 times and remodeled two fixer-uppers
  • learned how to be a mom to a son and I now believe it's a lot more nature vs. nurture
  • built a ton of Legos, listened to a lot of guitar and been to the ER twice (I think that's pretty good for 22 years – and we each only passed out once!)
  • learned how to parent a teen, how to be ok with that teen's friends being afraid of me, and how to let said teen become the amazing, independent young man he is today
  • I haven't grown taller but I've certainly grown as a person – and we won't talk about the weight gains and losses and re-gains, and re-losses…

Together we have…

  • hung out, grown up and experienced a lot of life
  • read books, watched movies and shared many adventures
  • traveled to England, Germany, Hawaii and New York
  • laughed, cried and pushed each others buttons 
  • survived his childhood – ok, that's being dramatic, he was a pleasure to raise, most days
  • supported each other, consoled each other and had some deep discussions on life

This year he will graduate from college.  Some would say my job as a mother will be done but I think it will just change, he'll always be my baby no matter how big, tall or old he gets. I can't wait to see what comes next!

A very proud, sappy and sentimental mom –

– Tara Reed

Kyle turns 22 - Augusst 2015

Art can make a difference…

A friend and fellow artist, Kathy Davis, has created an amazing non-profit art center that enhances the arts and culture for people within her extended community. Located in Horsham, PA (not too far from where I grew up!) it's an amazing place for connecting, taking classes and more.

The Scatter Joy Center for the Arts is  hosting a very big event on Friday evening, September 25, 2015. The event, entitled “Joy Squared”, will feature an exhibit of artwork on 6 x 6 inch canvases. The exhibited artwork will be sold that evening through a silent auction and all proceeds will benefit the art center.

My happy place - Tara ReedI decided to do something different and create a canvas to support this great cause.

I don't usually paint on canvas – it scares me a little to be honest! I paint on paper then scan it into my computer and put things together in Photoshop. I can move, change and manipulate things in ways that can't be done on a canvas. But getting out of your comfort zone is always (usually?) a good thing so I went for it.

This coffee canvas will be going in the mail today and heading across the country!  I also created a video of the work in progress if you want to see that too.Scatter Joy Arts Center auction - September 2015

Join in the fun and contribute some of your time and talents to this worthwhile fundraising effort. Also, please share this information with your friends and family and encourage them to get involved. If you live in the Horsham, PA area, go check it out!  (Send me a photo of my canvas on the wall too if you think of it!)

Here's to art opportunities in our communities!

– Tara Reed


It’s back to school time!

My Facebook feed is beginning to be flooded with photos of back to school – from back to elementary to heading off to college, kids are on the move! My son heads off to start his senior year at Boston University next week and I can hardly believe it.  It seems like just yesterday he was heading off for the first time!

I have 2 quick “back to school” things I wanted to share with you. 

Back to School Flag - Tara Reed - Fall 2015First, I'm so excited about how well my Back to School Flag came out – it's available at Lowe's stores now – get yours before it's gone!

Next, I have some free back to school lunch box printables you can grab from my other project – Pivot to Happy.  It's a new adventure I'm embarking on in addition to the art I do for products.  If you haven't checked it out – I hope you do!  Click here to go get your free printables – no sign up either, just free!  If you like them and/or don't want to miss future freebies or fun, happy stuff, be sure to sign up for the email list over there.

Free back to school printables by Tara Reed and Pivot to Happy

Need something new for your walls?

I'm excited to have partnered with Roaring Brook Art as my exclusive wall art publisher! One thing that is tricky with what I do is that I often can't tell people where to find products they love with my art on it. Many of my designs are in and out of places like Home Goods & Marshalls and it is truly hit or miss for consumers. I do my best to help you locate the things you love.

I am elated to report that my wall art prints are all available at and – prints are at and if you prefer a fully framed and ready to hang piece of art, head to

wall art samples - Tara Reed Designs

Right now there is a Q&A on the Fulcrum Gallery site – maybe you'll learn some things about me you never knew before…

Q and A with Tara Reed -


Professional Artist Magazine

I am beyond honored to be included in the December 2014 / January 2015 issue of Professional Artist Magazine.  The magazine has a lot of great advice for artists of all kinds – from revamping your artist statement to acing your next art show… Writing a strategic plan, how to hire an art coach and more.

Professional Artist Magazine - Tara Reed

My article about art licensing includes contributions from Paul Brent, Jennifer Pugh, Jane Shasky, Stephanie Burgess and Alicia Dauber of Licensing Liaison.  If people look at you and scratch their heads not understanding what it is you do or are trying to do – you can hand them the article and get them up to speed.  If you are new to the concept, grab a copy for yourself!

I'm excited to read the rest of the magazine – I have yet to fully understand what an “Artist Statement” is quite frankly – my marketing degree is showing again!

I found a copy at my local Barnes & Noble.  You can check other bookstores or find it online at

Here's to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Shopping at Big Box Stores Support Small Businesses Too…

It's the week of Thanksgiving here in the US and that means lots of food, family gatherings and shopping.  Thanksgiving Thursday is followed by Black Friday – the day retailers hope to “be in the black” – as in, making money.  It's to official kick-off of the holiday shopping season.

small business saturdayThen comes Small Business Saturday… Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local. Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express corporation.  There are lots of images floating around Facebook… like this one. (I couldn't find the original creator or source of the image – it isn't mine, no copyright violation is intended)

While I like the basic concept, there is definitely some black-and-white thinking that I feel compelled to address.

Specifically – “Let's make sure our money goes to individual people and not multinational companies.”

Well… multinational companies aren't just nameless, faceless money funnels.  They need a lot of people, resources, etc to survive.  And many, many small businesses are helped when you shop at places like WalMart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Lowe's and more…

THIS small business owner, for example.  And many of my friends and clients.

I am ONE PERSON, working out of a home office, making a living, paying my bills and taxes and contributing to my community.  I do art that goes on products that are primarily sold in large chain stores… so if you boycott “multinational companies” – this artist is going to be in a world of hurt.

Many of my clients, who are vendors to the big stores, are US based small businesses.  Their livelihoods are also tied to big stores.

I'm not saying don't go to that craft fair or locally owned hair salon – don't get me wrong.  But I think the message is getting a little too cut and dry – David vs. Goliath if you will.  Goliath supports a lot of David's in this new world economy.

How about we all “mix it up” this holiday season?  Don't ONLY shop at WalMart but don't avoid it out of principle either.

Napkins at Walmart - 2014While we are on the subject of WalMart, if you do find yourself in there, look for these cocktail napkins – designed by me.  Manufactured by a company in Philadelphia.  Moved around to all the locations by trucking companies who bought gas, food and probably coffee, all across country.   If your WalMart has canvas wall art for Christmas, you might be supporting my friend Jennifer Pugh – another one-woman artist business out of Utah.  Her family thanks you for your support as well.

Be changed but don’t be reduced…

Quote by Maya Angelou

I saw this quote on Twitter the other day and was struck and inspired by it.  It is yet another reminder that while we can't control everything in our lives, we can always control our reaction and affect the outcome.

Everyone has gone through something – or many things – that could have turned them down a road of bitterness, defeat, depression and anger.  Some go happily down that road and build a house and stay there.

Others take the road that is a little harder in the short term but makes for a happier life in the long term.   Work through the pain and find the lesson.  Become stronger and wiser and learn to forgive.

This Saturday marks 10 years since my ex-husband and I decided to divorce.  10 years ago I was a puddle of a person – I felt sick to my stomach for months and couldn't eat.  I lost some weight and a neighbor told me “Divorce looks good on you!”  That was even more depressing because I knew that at some point I'd eat again and what would that mean?? 🙂  I had a 10 year old son to stabilize and my own sense of being to recover.

I look back and still remember how hard it was but am also amazed and proud of where I am now.  I'm proud of how my ex and I put our son first and never in the middle.  I am stronger for the experience – but now look for more productive and gentler ways to build my strength. 🙂

Another huge life event that could have gone either way for me and my family emotionally is the more recent and still present experience with my dad and his “journey” with Alzheimer's.  We went through all of the usual emotions – disbelief, questioning, despair, fear… and now I have come to a place of relative peace.  Rallying against Alzheimer's doesn't help.  Accepting it and showing up where my dad needs me to be – either talking or sitting quietly, playing dominoes or looking at flash cards and talking about trips – that is a more peaceful way to be.

My wish for you (and for me) is that we meet our experiences and challenges with grace and an open mind.  Allow them to change us for the better but never reduce us.

Thank you Maya Angelou for these wise words.

– Tara Reed