Hannah Overman Koch

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December Kindness Chronicles

Pantry of Positives

You may have cans of corn, peas and sauerkraut,
but a pantry full of positives is what it is all about.

I'm sure you're stocked up on service, love and gratitude.
By sharing these traits, you'll surely change any mood.

So as we enjoy this Christmas season
We must remember showing compassion needs no reason.

Sketchbook page

Materials used:  pencils, acrylic paint, black pens,


Harmony, Faith, Grace, Service and Hope,

Peas of Peace, Boost of Confidence and 
The Love Can!

Instead of receiving Christmas gifts this year, I am asking for canned food for my local food pantry, C.A.M.  I am trying to collect 100 cans!  If you do not live in my area, but would like to donate, please share with  your local food pantry and tell me about it!

So far....

a friend donated 60 cans to her church!!!  Wow!

Please leave me a comment and I will add your donated cans to my total-
Merry Christmas to all!!!

sharing canned food and my pantry of positives on this artist holiday,

Monday, November 26, 2012

Coloring Book Creation

Create a coloring book...

As craft consultant for Wednesday nights at my local church, I have been planning and designing craft time for the preschool class.

As I have also experienced a classroom setting, I know how much children enjoy the simple act of coloring.  With that thought in mind and a little planning, I created a coloring book specific to the curriculum they were to teach.

A stack of coloring books I created for the preschool class at church.

How to begin...

This is the front cover I created for this preschool coloring book.  

"Stories of Jesus" was the title of the curriculum we followed for this set of classes.  I wanted a simple design with a flair for silliness.

Materials used - colored pencils and markers.

Our Children's Minister made color copies of the front cover.

I made copies of the coloring pages provided from the curriculum book as the insert pages.  I created 15 coloring books to use for 8 weeks.

We use report covers with the clear fronts as the binders to hold the books together.  I also added a blank sheet of paper in between each coloring page to add more space for the children to draw and color as they wished.

After having the pages in correct order, I hold punched the packet of pages and inserted them into the report covers.


A coloring book ready for those little fingers to color!

This alleviates the teachers having to make copies every week!  Simply store your coloring books to use each week and then allow the children to take them home at the end of the curriculum.

There were some lessons that a coloring page was not provided.  I drew simple shapes to correlate with that week's lesson.

Below is the only coloring page I needed to create for this coloring book.  The other pages are part of the curriculum and cannot shared due to copyright infringement.

This is a coloring page I created for the star lesson.
Feel free to print this for your preschool needs too!

Quick Glance Instructions:
  • Create front cover
  • Make copies of front cover and each page needed to create coloring book 
  • Add blank pages if desired between coloring pages
  • Once in proper order, hole punch all pages
  • Insert each packet of pages into report cover

The children enjoy coloring and this is a cost effective way of creating a special coloring book.  It also makes something simple - the act of coloring- into a wonderful cherished event.

Thanks to the wonderful Ladies I work with for your support as I experiment and push ideas to new heights!

thinking outside the lines on this artist holiday,


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November Kindness Chronicles

The saying goes "charity begins at home" and that is where I started - check out 

October Kindness Chronicles

for the full story...

If you would like to donate canned food to me over the holiday season I will be happy to collect!

My goal is 50-100 cans!!!

Or if you do not live in my area but are donating cans to your local food bank -
please make a comment here!

I would love to know your charity endeavors!

So with the canned food drive underway, through my church we are making boxes for 

Operation Christmas Child

This is operated by Samaritan's Purse International Relief

and these boxes go around the world!

This was an event my 2 children were able to better understand as we purchased the items for each box.  I am thrilled that my children are learning various ways of giving to others.

My 9 year was reading over the list of requested items and asked me why do they not have access to this stuff.  It was a teaching moment and my heart was overfilled with gratitude that she was connecting the dots.

We filled both boxes with colorful, useful and fun things!

I am so thankful for this opportunity!

The final step is to include the label with the age range.

You can also include a personal note with your address and photo and just maybe the recipient may write back!

Thank you to my church for the organization of this wonderful opportunity to give!

Please check out their website for further information-

Always trying to be a bucket and "box" filler on this artist holiday,

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Bonsai

The Bonsai Tree

On a recent trip to Chicago, I was able to visit and immensely enjoy the Chicago Botanic Gardens!
On special exhibit there was a large variety of Bonsai Trees.

The appearance of age, the organic beauty and tender care were on display in each tree.
Here are some photos from this exhibit-

The pamphlet on the collection.

Most often when displayed, the Bonsai is paired with a smaller plant or rock.

The photo below describes this particular tree-

It states:
In Bonsai, literal age is less important than the appearance of age.  This pine has both:  It's the oldest tree in our collection.  (Hundreds of Years), and its style speaks of the harsh, cold, windy conditions endured by an ancient tree.

This is an overview of the entire collection of Bonsai Trees.

The curves...

The shallow roots..

Another note from the exhibit:

Old tree/young tree, dead wood/lush growth, the passing of time.
The illusion of dead wood arises from branches stripped of bark, then painted with lime sulfur that both bleaches and preserves the wood.

This gnarly root is so gorgeous!

Well after returning home and thinking about all that I saw and experienced in Chicago, the Bonsai has captivated my imagination!  It was time to bring the ideas to paper-

A page from my sketchbook

Materials included - pencil, watercolor, colored pencils and black pens.

A few closeups of my sketchy markings.

Next, I wanted to make a collage-

I decided to only use one magazine, West Elm because of the beautiful patterns and wood designs included.

Hence, this is aptly named - West Elm Bonsai Tree.

The black paper was left over from another project.

I decided to cut tans and browns from the mag to represent the wood of the bonsai.

The mag also had subtle greens that I used to represent the greenery of the leaves.

Materials used - student quality drawing paper, black acrylic paint, magazine clippings, glue stick

My final ode to the Bonsai was making a few thank you cards.

I made quick sketches with a black pen.

Next, I glued the sketch to a piece of colored card stock.

Then I sewed a simple line (using my sewing machine) around the card stock to adhere it to the card.

Added some other black lines and the word "bonsai" to finish it off!

I find hand written notes to be something very special to me.  
I try to do it as often as possible.

And to complete the card - of course the Bonsai Tree stamp collection!
Thank you to the US Postal Service for such beautiful stamps.

When I think I Bonsai Trees now, I do not just think "tree".  The words that come to my mind are:
Age, beauty, organic, journey, ancient, convex, concave, pruning, size, time, Japanese, simplicity, lines, roots and care.

Caring for a Bonsai is symbolic to caring for our own lives.

looking at the Bonsai in a whole new way on this artist holiday,

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October Kindness Chronicles

This month's Kindness Chronicles comes in a unique form this month-

A Book Review
and a plan to celebrate Christmas a little differently this year...

Recently I read...

Three Cups of Tea
by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

"Three Cups of Tea" Young Adult Edition Book Cover Image
Image courtesy Central Asia Institute
Young Adult Reader Version

This book begins...
With the author Greg Mortenson climbing a mountain in Pakistan named K2 back in 1993 when he became lost from his group and found himself wandering into a small, poor village named Korphe.  The kindness of the village people of Korphe toward him during that difficult time touched him and he wanted to help them in any way that he could.  He saw they needed a school. That was it!  Greg Mortenson promised to return one day soon ready to build a school for the children of Korphe.  This book details his journey of building their school and the beginning of his life work instilling a priority of education across Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The title "Three Cups of Tea" is what originally caught my eye and after seeing the cover I knew this was the book I should read.  
I found this statement when I turned the book over to the back cover: 

"With the first cup of tea you are a stranger.  
With the second...a friend.  
With the third cup of tea, you are family."

This title summarizes his journey and message of the book and I believe it is the perfect title.

I believe the style writing was certainly accessible to a young reader.  It would be a great addition to a middle school library.

The key idea of this book is about random and not so random acts of kindness.  The Korphe villagers were doing a random act of kindness to help the author in his time of need so far from home.  The author's kindness was in response to their kindness.  And the kindness he has extended and continues to extend to other villages has become his very own "Kindness Chronicles".   

Greg Mortenson wrote in the introduction:

"But there are about 110 million children ages five to fifteen around the world who don't have a chance to learn how to read and write or to go to school."

As I read the introduction and the rest of the book, I was humbled.  I have always been a person to never take my blessings for granted but after reading this book I really thought about every thing I have and possess.

I decided about half way through this book I want to do something to make a difference in my community.  But what can I do?

Finally, after some thought, an idea came to me-

For Christmas this year, I am asking everyone who planned to get me a Christmas gift instead to give me canned food I can deliver to my local food pantry.  I have estimated that if everyone who was going to buy me a gift instead spent that money on canned food, I could possibly collect 50-100 cans.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants to find some inspiration in small and big acts of kindness.

Publisher:  Penguin Group
Published:  2009
Amazon Price:  Paperback $8.99
Check your local library too!
ISBN:  978-0-14-241412-5

Adapted by Sarah Thomson       Foreword by Jane Goodall
Includes an Interview with Greg's Mortenson's 12 year old daughter, Amira Mortenson

Also includes:
Regional Map

Please visit Greg Mortenson's non-profit website:

Also check out the service-learning program of Central Asia Institute:

inspired to make a change on this artist holiday,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pixie Dress Winner

by Jill Eudaly
artist and friend

My friend Jill over at Recycled Daze had a give away on her blog a few weeks ago.  The prize was her mixed media dress she created from recycled brown paper bags, tissue paper, twigs, fabric, and many other fabulous goodies!  

And the winner of this beautifully made artwork was me!!!!

Jill created this artwork as a response to a reader challenge in the magazine Cloth Paper Scissors and it was chosen to be published as well!!!

I decided it would look awesome against the green color walls in my dining room and that is where it is hanging!

Thanks so much Jill!

It will be quite a conversation piece!

sharing the inspiration and hard work of artists on this artist holiday,

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Kindness Chronicles September

I have been blessed with many wonderful people in my life, both family and friends.

And on this month's Kindness Chronicles,
I would like to share about my very special friend...

Photo: Hannah, Just been thinking of you and our visit together back in DC in 2010. I will get in touch with you soon to catch up, been a whirlwind since July 3rd. Love and miss you♥. Can't wait to hear about your trip to Jersey Shore-thanks for the postcard!
Tanya and myself in DC, back in 2010.

We have known each other about our whole lives, growing up together in the same church.  And over the years and miles between us, we have stayed in touch and our friendship has grown stronger.

I am sharing this on Kindness Chronicles because she is such a kind, thoughtful, giving and wonderful friend!  I am so blessed to have her creative spirit and artistic passion in my life to inspire and keep me going on days that my own creativity is lacking.

She has been living in Hawaii for about 4 years now and over that time we have shared our projects and artistic experiments over thousands of miles.  I decided to grab just a few of the many special treasures she has sent me and my family in that time.

This picture shows her many handbags both small and large, a burlap canvas she created, her photography skills, potpourri bags and a dishcloth she upcycled into an apron!
I love them all!!!!

As you can see, Tanya is blessed with such a beautiful ability to sew and create with burlap and fabric.  

Check out her latest design...

Burlap Pumpkin. Fall, Autumn, Thanksgiving, Halloween Decor. Pin Cushion. Upcycled. Eco Friendly. Handmade in Hawaii. Ready to Ship.

Burlap Pumpkin Pincushions
and this...

Designer Alfred Shaheen Vintage Handprint - Pua Aloha in Fuschia. Framed Clutch Purse. Evening Bag. Handmade in Hawaii.

or this...

Ready To Ship. Kauai Coffee Bag and Burlap Basket - L. Eco Friendly Storage, Organizer, Gift Basket. Recycled Coffee Bag.

She creates beautifully handcrafted bags and such with Hawaiian burlap coffee bags and Hawaiian fabric!

For our distance apart is large, Tanya captured how we feel with this burlap wrapped canvas quote...

"No distance of place
or lapse of time can lessen
the friendship of those who
are thoroughly persuaded
of each other's worth."
Robert Southey

Such a wonderful quote!

Her latest package included my very favorite snack, Honey Roasted Macadamias!!

So yummy!!!

But one of my most favorite possessions from Tanya...

My pen bag!  It holds all my important "good" pens, an eraser and my very small pencil sharpener!

I use it about everyday and love the Hawaiian button she attached to the zipper!

She puts thought into everything she creates and her kindness shines through everytime!

Her website and etsy shop are:

I hope through this month's Kindness Chronicles we are reminded of the kindness of our friends as that saying goes...

"Make new friends and keep the old, one is silver 
and the other gold."

Thankful for my friends, both silver and gold on this artist holiday,