Thursday, December 13, 2012

Angels in the living room

Over the years, a variety of card-parts have piled up on the surface of Aunt Jessie's game table ... things like houses, choirs, Christmas trees, mangers. They bring their necessary accessories,  sometimes paint or ink, but always double-stick tape (my term) and scissors. 
This year angels are everywhere. While ink dries around their edges, the printer chugs away, turning out the message and the card itself.

Every December, I tell myself to go simple. I try, but the truth is that what I like is the look of multiple layers and uneven edges.

The ripping and inking are finished, but I'll be folding and taping for a while. And I couldn't be happier.  *smile*

...let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Thanksgiving Day. The very name of this holiday brings to mind the joyful duty of a person who has been redeemed by a loving God... thanksgiving that is filled with praise. 
Swirling round my words that are lifted in praise, is the mighty chorus of nature. Weeds that twirl in graceful dance...

... the heavens rejoice ... the earth is glad;
let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. 
Let the field be joyful and all that is therein;
... all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord...
From the rising of the sun
unto the going down of the same
the Lord's name is to be praised.
Psalm 96, Psalm 113 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Making improvements

I wondered when I signed in for my first art class that actually cost $$, if I was foolish, or if I would actually come through the experience with new understanding. Would I be able to take the info given and make it my own? Or would I just learn how to duplicate the art that the teacher makes.

You tell me... this is before the class. Me, on my own trying to be arty.
Same painting... trying a technique I learned.

I know it isn't there yet, but it is so much better! I'm still working on these little buildings. Someday... they will be just what I wanted to see when I started.
Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Chriat. Philippians 1:6

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The 5x5 project

I jumped into the deep end knowing that I flail, splash and basically just roil the water. At the time, it didn't matter. I wasn't thinking about technique. There was a challenge... I had something to say... so aiming for the deep end... I flew into the air.

And now, among all the fine swimmers, there I am, flailing, splashing and generally having a good time. I may look a bit silly, but hey! You can't ever say, I hid when the pool opened.

Sunday, 11/11/12, you can see the whole thing here ... Seth Apter's The Altered Page blog.

Some absolutely beautiful pieces were submitted for his 5x5 project. He will be displaying every piece submitted every Sunday in November on his blog. No one is left out... every last piece will be included.
Take a look. You will be amazed at the talent some people can cram into a 5x5 space.
When I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. Micah 7:8

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Art Gallery Tour


Imagine how many times I went here on Friday. Kind of a reality check for me, as in - did I really see my name there?
If you haven't checked it out, go! It's a varied display of art that has this in common... the use of techniques taught in this class. 
I'm quite sure I'm the newbie-est of the group shown this week. What a thrill for me!
Now, feet back on the ground... get to work!
(He) satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. Psalm 103:5

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October in my yard

Early this morning the frost was thick on the neighbor's roof.

The maple trees lost all their leaves in the wind two days ago. The courtyard is now covered with a brilliant yellow blanket... beautiful today... soon to be reduced to a mound of smoldering ashes.

I love autumn. The colors, the smell in the air, long sleeves and jeans. It's the best part of living in Michigan.
Finally, I can stop feeling guilty about staying inside, playing with paint and paper. Happy days.

Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. Psalm 32:11

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sign du jour

Encouraged by the completion of one "sign" project, I started on another. My usual work surfaces are in the 4"x 6" neighborhood, so when I saw that the first item on the supply list was a 16"x20" illustration board, I had the uneasy sense of too big... too big...

I squelched the uneasiness and bought the board. I laid it on my work table, squashing the words that danced about singing  too big... too big...

With every layer of paint and gel medium, I worked to stifle, smother and silence those words, too big... too big...

The new sign is finished, ready to frame and present to another budding artist.

 May she also squelch, stifle, smother and silence any nasty words that whisper in her ear.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Coffee and signs

Most of my projects end up leaving our house, never to be seen again. It's a great system... I can create to my heart's content and we don't have to buy a bigger house to hold it all! But then I decided that my dear husband deserved a piece of "art" to call his very own.  

It started with Lesson 3 of my class with Julie Prichard. (Have I mentioned how much I love this class? Or how much I'm learning?) She demonstrated how to achieve the look of an old weathered sign... to make them look something like these... old, weathered, full of character.

One very important issue in life on this acre is that the coffee we make must be good coffee! Coffee that shakes you awake with the first sip. Coffee that makes your eyes pop, your heart pound, and your ears ring! In fact it is so important that Rod has taken over the coffee making duties, determined that a bad brew will never happen here.

So... here it is. A shingle to hang in his coffee station declaring him... king of the "brutal brew"!

I think he likes it. It's still hanging by the coffee pot.

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might... Ecclesiastes 9:10

Monday, September 24, 2012


One of the stark facts about the empty nest is that it's empty. It's down to just the two of us and that's not an easy place for a show-and-tell person to dwell. Show-and-tellers need an audience... someone to say, "Yay! You did that all by yourself?" (Yes, we are a needy group.)


So, now that the house is quiet, the burden of reactions rests squarely on the shoulders of my dearly beloved. I do love him so... but his gifts do not lie in the area of exuberant reactions. He's more a monotone "wow" kind of guy. I've learned to count on his honesty... not his handstands.

Last week was a productive week for Guerrilla art. It felt good to be working on little pieces of "art".
Assembly line production doesn't work for me. It's one at a time... piece #1 drying while I start #2... That means the show-and-tell process is long and drawn out.

I ran down the stairs to find my audience, but the house was empty. I propped the little piece against a candle holder and stood back to consider... I could see every flaw. The flower wasn't exactly what I had in mind. Maybe the colors are wrong. Do I really like that stitching?

The door banged shut. He's here!

"Well... what do you think? I'm not so sure..." I started in on all of my doubts, but stopped after just a couple. "What do you think?"

He said (in his usual monotone) "I like it. And I think you should read your verse."


"Read the verse."

Ahh. Who needs confetti and marching bands? Sometimes you just need an honest monotone. satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord. Jeremiah 31:14

Saturday, September 15, 2012

♫ Humming ♪

All afternoon I've been humming...
♫ Back in the saddle again
I go my way ♫
Back in the saddle again...
It has been such a long dry summer... it felt good to work on some guerrilla art again.
... He did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. Acts 14:17

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Painting lesson

I feel the cool nights of September tiptoeing in the shadows... so this is a "must post" or I will miss the entire month of August here. Will someone please slow things down?

Fortunately, I have had a distraction during this incredibly hot summer. The art class at the Land of Lost Luggage has been amazing. Because it is open ended (go at your own speed, teacher and teaching videos available 24 hours a day forevermore [yeah, wow, right?]) I have been able to really work on each lesson until I feel like I understand the process.

I guess now is the time I admit I'm a slow learner. Although it has been 2 months, I am just now finishing the project for Lesson 2. I know, sloooow, but I'm swimming in the deep end, and really unsure of myself. Julie is such a help. Not just a stroke-your-forehead-saying-soothing-words kind of help, but instruction help! Love her and this class. (I have already picked out the next class that I want for Christmas!)

This is where I went with Lesson 2. It started with paints and glazing liquid. That turned to masks and brayers and then back to paints and glazing liquid. This is what it looked like as I went along.

I continued going forward, hoping something would emerge from all the layers that would be lovely. I showed each step to Julie, and she made some very helpful suggestions. (Keep in mind that this is my first attempt at this type of painting... and be kind in your evaluations.)

As I worked, there finally came a point that felt like the end. I looked at it for a few days, wondering what I should do next, when circumstances and verses and a recipient converged in my mind. This is the finished piece.

There are little places in this piece that I love. There are other places that I wish I could push "rewind" and re-do. But, paper is paper and "glue" is glue, so there you go. Now it's time for a final backing paper and it will be ready for delivery.

Love the verses. They have been speaking to me all summer... leading me to rest for my soul.

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:28-29

Monday, July 30, 2012

Pilgrimage to paperville

Saturday was amazing. We were on the road early to make sure that we reached the destination before closing.

I am not a garage/yard sale fan... in fact, if you see me perusing the table at a yard sale, keep driving. It's a sign that there is nothing here that you (ha! anyone!) will want. It's just a fact of life. But we stopped at a few sales anyway.... just to prove this law of (my) life.

Travelling along old US 12 there were also plenty of antique and thrift stores to keep us busy. This particular marvel of beautiful blue/rust was in front of a rundown used-to-be tourist trap, now permanent garage sale. Could anyone not love that blue? Yum!

We don't often choose to drive into big city Michigan, but the mission Saturday was specific... and it required going urban. Taking back roads made it a little less painful, especially when we came upon  endless fields of sunflowers!

Finally - be still my heart - we pulled into Ann Arbor, straight into the heart of Kerrytown. Pushing past the lo-o-o-ong line outside of Zingerman's, we finally arrived at - can you hear the angel choirs? - Hollander's! I was going to take pictures, but I was so overwhelmed by room after room of paper that I couldn't think of anything else.  Fortunately, I had determined ahead of time what my $pending limit would be. (I only went $12 over!) In addition to a brush and linen thread, this is what I brought home...

I'm so excited. These are so incredibly beautiful that I can't wait to see what I do with them.

So-o-o, what am I doing here?

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Book #1 - ready to go

My dearly beloved gave me an online art class (Mixed Media Variety Hour) for my birthday. I am loving it. The first project I have completed is this idea book... from start to finish, from pieces of paper to book board, from tape and PVA to needle and thread, I made this book.

You know all those ideas that gather dust in your head? No more lost ideas for me! They are going in this book so that I have a handy reference for inspiration.

I'm thinking of making more for all of the other categories that seem to languish in the dusty corners of my mind. Besides, it was too much fun to just do one.

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might... Ecclesiastes 9:10

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Booklet project

It's hot here. Really hot. And we get humidity that runs about as high as the temperature!

Now that I have that off my mind.... it's time for show and tell.

I have a booklet project in the works. Eight pages, filled with color, stitched and ready to be filled. In fact, the zendala created here was stripped to a single layer, ripped into random shapes...


... and added to the booklet pages.

This was my first attempt at making a single signature. Thanks to good directions, it went well.

All of the little tidbits that will tell the story on these pages are waiting for me to glue them in their proper place. Can't wait to hold the finished project in my hand. It's a gift... I need to get it finished!!!

Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Psalm 67:3

Monday, June 18, 2012

What can we do?

After a heavy duty weekend, I was enjoying this slow Monday.

Laundry... dishes... the beginning and end of my must-do list.

No deadlines, no cooking.

Then I got the text. A 10-year old friend and her friend were asking for an ideas to fill a long afternoon.

The perfect project popped into my head, but just to make sure I had the details right, I watched a few minutes of this video...

... and then forwarded it to them. The challenge was to pull an inspiration word from a bag and make that the zendala shape.

Good bye laundry! Who cares dishes! This sounded like too much fun to miss. The word picked from my bag was "mountains".

I'm so thankful for unlimited texts... and photos! We kept the air busy with the back and forth.

Now that was fun!

A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! Proverbs 15:23

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why am I doing this?

If I hurry, I can get one more post in before May is history. Where did the month go?

We have a small veggie garden, planted and waiting for rain. After years of planting things like turnips, eggplant, and beets (with only minor success and even less pleasure) we made the decision to quit playing with plants we don't really like and stick with the basics. So ... this year I have tomatoes, green peppers, and green beans. Ok, ok, I do have one jalapeno plant. That's my nod to unusual.

I pulled out my sewing machine again. I'm trying not to get over-committed to sewing projects that don't fit or look like the pictures (see discussion above about unsuccessful veggie choices), but I do need a new Bible cover. I've worn out the old one - even my vintage buttons are breaking in pieces - so I'm hard at work on an improved version. Hopefully, I will be happy enough with the outcome to show pictures... soon.

I did make a 20-minute-skirt a week ago. It didn't take 20 minutes. I made some adjustments to the instructions (I just gotta be me!) and it's ok. Of course I haven't worn it yet. I don't have one single thing that goes with it. It probably would have been a good idea to consider that when picking fabric. *sigh*

I have been making some note cards. It has been my goal to create a design that could be printed - one step, easy, fast. The problem is that what I really like are card fronts that are layered with colorful paper, and then finished off with some hand stamping/embellishment. It's just not right when it's fast.

We had grilled pizza this week. Last time I made it, it was wonderful! So this time, I used a different crust recipe. (I am my own worst enemy.)  Too bad that when we tried to peel the raw dough from the (suggested) waxed paper, it stretched and ripped into the most grotesque shapes! Well, where's the rule that says pizza crust has to have a shape? Or not be holey?

I'm pondering these fleeting moments of life. The whys and the who-fors. What is accomplished of eternal value? How much is for the eyes of mankind?  And I'm trying to stay honest.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. Colossians, 3:23

Friday, May 11, 2012

Trials and errors

Days are flying by. Too fast. I can't keep up.

I think about what has been accomplished between the dawn and the fall of night, and I wonder,  With so many experiments behind me .. all these lessons learned ... was it worth the time spent?

I don't know. So let's have a little bit of show and tell. (FYI: Those thoughts you'll be thinking? I know... I've thought the same thing. But hey, I have to build up this thick skin that gives me the courage to keep aiming for better all the while providing a good belly laugh for my friends.   *smile*)

Here goes....

A rustic little scene that has been distressed. Not unlike the maker.

They look like poster girls for Tylenol. Not exactly what I was going for. In fact, I never did achieve what I was going for. Hmmm.. maybe it's a mirror.

A background that I have plans for. Layers yet to come.

The worktable gets cleaned, only to be piled again with papers covered with ideas that evolve while I'm trying to clean up the last pile of papers that are covered with ideas that evolved while ....

Is there a cure for this? Do I want to be cured? Not so sure about that.

In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Psalm 94:19

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Vintage buzz

Last week, we took a day to wander through some antique stores. We didn't buy anything, but the looking was... well, interesting.

"Vintage" is the new buzz word. If an old anything can technically be labeled "vintage", then it's a hot item. According to one very chatty dealer, everyone wants to decorate with the things they remember from early childhood at mom's or grandma's house.

That means that all the things I was so happy to sell at a garage sale, pitch into the garbage, or use as fuel for a bonfire could be financing a very comfortable retirement right now. *sigh* Oh well.

There were two especially great things about our day of leisure. First, the opportunity to deliver guerrilla art ...

Woven paper strips on coffee stained time card

Image transfer on book page

...topped off with a dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant. I don't know who General Tso is, but his chicken is out of this world!

 Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. Psalm 113:2

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ready to be mailed

Is a piece ever finished? Do you ever say to yourself, "Wow, that's perfect"?

The glue is dry. The words are written. The requirements have been met.

But I'm torn between it-just-needs-__?___ and don't-do-another-thing-you'll-ruin-it!  To end any more second guessing, I'm putting it in an envelope and sealing it with extra tape.

This was an interesting challenge. The three questions were simple enough on the first read through...
1. The Artistic Ingredient: If your artwork could talk, what would it say?
2. Passion in Action: Who has had the most impact on your creative life?
3. Secrets Revealed: What is one thing you have never shared with the creative community?
It was a matter of picking one, writing the answer on 5"x5" artwork, and popping it in the mail.
But the words for the answer to my chosen question kept eluding me. After pondering the question a few hours, I finally nailed down what I would have my artwork say... That whatever I do in word or deed, I do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God by him.  
Then things got personal... Is that true in all areas of my life? The grumpy times... really?... "in the name of the Lord Jesus"? The impatient, negative, critical moments? *sigh* There's some work to do.
In the meantime, my project goes in the mailbox tomorrow. Thanks to Seth Apter for the head, hands and heart exercise.
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:17

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I pick Question 1

I'm working on an art challenge found here. It's a simple challenge with just a few rules.

So, why is my workroom table piled high with snippings, paintbrushes, tools, and glue?

And, why is my living table cluttered with pens, scribble-filled scraps, books?

Is it possible I'm overthinking this?

The goal is  - in the mail by Thursday. Then begins the cleanup.

I will praise thee with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works. Psalm 9:1

Monday, March 26, 2012

Travelling companions

I will be travelling this week... and taking friends with me.

The puffin...

the grandma...

and the girl with the skinny neck!

An unlikely trio, but ready and willing to carry the message.

Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I have written and deleted, and then repeated the process many times. What is on my mind refuses to come out in a sensible way... so it will remain safely tucked away in my heart.

Words fail, but color slides across paper, leaving whatever message it will. So I fall back on the sloshing of paint on paper, experimenting with everything, using anything that's within reach....

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Blackberry-Apple Upside-Down Cake

I have this fantasy, that after many hours in the kitchen, I float into the dining room looking like this, my hands filled with fresh-baked goodness.

But, reality being what it is, my apron at the end of a baking session is not all starched and sparkling clean. And I do not float into the dining room, because I'm busy waving a towel under the smoke alarm to stop the incessant beeping! 

Though there will never be a real picture of yours truly baking, I will show proof that a scrumptious Blackberry-Apple Upside-Down Cake came out of my oven last week. Ta-da!!

The recipe is practically foolproof. (I know. I tried several times to ruin it and it was still wonderful!) You must try it.

Blackberry-Apple Upside-Down Cake
3/4 cup butter, softened and divided
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 large Gala apples, peeled and cut into 1/4" slices
1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries (do not thaw if using frozen)
    (or substitute 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a lightly greased 9" round cake pan (with 2" sides) over low heat. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with brown sugar; drizzle honey over brown sugar. arrange apple slices in concentric circles over brown sugar mixture, overlapping as needed. Sprinkle with berries.

With an electric mixer, beat granulated sugar and remaining 1/2 cup butter at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating till blended after each addition.

In another bowl, stir together flour and baking powder. Beginning and ending with flour mixture, add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Spoon batter over blackberries in the pan.

Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen. Invert the cake onto a serving plate, spooning any topping left in the pan over the cake.

Soooo good!

... he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Try. Then try again.

The pressure is off this week. It has been fun to experiment and play without a deadline hanging overhead. There has even been some time for scanning the "bits and pieces with promise".

This has been a week of precious moments to go beyond "I wonder if I could...?" to actually trying! There was a lot of chuckling - and chucking... straight into the wastebasket! Then, some things with promise appeared. 

The efforts with transparency transfers were a flop. When this tag happened, it was a surprise. (I think I remember what I did... ?) There were so many duds up to then that I was at the what-do-I-have-to-lose? point. I do like the faded look of it. 

A childhood photo of my dad and his sister plus writing from my great-great-grandmother's sister.

Found this flower pressed in the pages of an old book. Love the color, the veins, everything about it.

Some things age so gracefully.

In another moment of why-not? this face came into being. She needs a solid substrate to rest on. I rifled through my old books and found one that is the perfect size, the perfect color. The surgical removal of cover from spine was successfully completed. Next? The cosmetic part of the process.

Adding a little something to layered papers. 

Time will tell what becomes of all this.

I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalm 16:8

Friday, March 2, 2012


It's the end of the week and my prayer album is finished. Aaaahhhh.....

As usual I have pages, and parts of pages, that I love.

Ink swirls - love the colors.
 I did some experimenting.

Photo printed on book page.

Old watch face  and molding paste border.
And I'm finally finding ways to use the papers that spent 3 months absorbing sun, rain, and wind.

Aged paper flowers
More aged paper... with rust.
I'm happy that it's finished and on duty as of today.

... men ought always to pray and not to faint. Luke 18:1