Thursday, December 17, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Stocking Swap


The Altered Art Divas group I belong to is a very close group of artist friends from all walks of life. There are many of us, some who have met in real life, others who have not. The swaps are always the best there are! This was a Stocking Swap, where we were to send a beautiful stocking filled with goodies for our partner.
My partner Terry is an attorney, and she always writes so elegantly, and so wisely in our group posts. I imagined her as a refined, tailored silver icicle stocking. She is always so clever and intelligent in her answers and quips in group, I took that and ran with it. She also told me several things she likes, so I had fun thinking of her for several months as I travelled around gathering treasures to stuff her stocking with. But OH MY WORD!!! She guessed me better than I could have ever even described myself!
When I opened the box last night, I was met by the most glorious mixed media stocking I've ever seen! And the goodies were all wrapped so enticingly, that I couldn't resist (I was going to open one per day) and I opened the WHOLE kit and kaboodle!

I can't do it justice describing its lovliness so I'll try and post photos for you to enjoy!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Treasures of the weekend!

As we travel, Mike and I try to get out and stretch our legs every couple of hours or so. When we can, we try to follow signs to antique malls right off the main highway. We found two today during our 7 hour car ride. I have an upcoming "Steampunk"collaborative round-robin coming up, and I was looking for some cool pieces that might serve as a possible base for my piece. I think I hit pay dirt!

Here are a few of the things we found today...

Cool sewing machine parts Mike found...

My treasures!

This thing was used to attach flags to bicycle spokes.

Love my dolly- love it even more that it was on sale! 50% off!

This seems to have been some sort of scale...

Have NO idea, but it's sooo cool! Mike discovered it, and also
found that the glass thingy comes off! He thinks it might be to bleed air or oil out of lines...
If anyone is in Barnesville Ohio, it is chock full of antique stores. We only had 1/2 an hour before closing time, and found almost all the above treasures (except the doilies and bike thing) at the Barnesville Antique Mall. It is 3 floors of goodies, and we only had time for 2!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A quick visit thru Lancaster County PA

Handmade rugs to pretty to walk on!

I LOVE these scooters!

Beautiful quilts where-ever you look!

Such a pretty cabinet!

Yummy jams and jellies!

Mike explores the baskets.

Love all the handmade goodies in every nook and corner!

Amazing collection of duck, geese, and wild animal calls.

Baskets and quilted goods.

A big bed full of lovely quilts!

On the way home from a recent photo shoot in Philadelphia, Mike and I made a quick run thru the Lancaster Pennslylvania area. My friend Angela told me about her Brother and Sister-In-Law's store in Intercourse PA. After visiting the Hoffman House's website and seeing their scooters, I just had to see them in person! Oh how I want one of the hot pink ones!

I thought I'd post a few pics of the lovely shop, and encourage anyone heading that way to pop in! Angela's nephew is very personable, and made the visit so interesting. He also gave us the scoop on where to stop and eat!

In the end, I came away with no scooter, but a lovely basket lazy susan, a felt christmas ornament kit, and Mike found some really cool solid beeswax hand lotion.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

2009 Altered Arts Diva Bash

Click to play this Smilebox greeting: 2009 Diva Bash
Create your own greeting - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox greeting

It Just FLEW by!

After all the months of planning, and all the hustle and bustle of getting ready for it, the 2009 Altered Arts Diva Bash came and went in an instant! We crammed as much love, laughter, art and friendship in as we could, and made the most of every minute!

On Thursday, the lovely Andi came and helped me get the final preparations finished, as well as carting with her all the wonderful breakfast foods you could imagine! It was such a blessing to get to spend private time with Andi, getting to know her better!

On Friday morning, I popped out for an appointment, and was wonderfully greeted by Andi and Joanne who had arrived bearing yummy chex mix that still makes my mouth water at the thought! (No pretzels for this girl!)

Mike and Andi left for the airport to pick up Christy, and I was excitedly trying to get prep done for dinner, and they all wonderfully pitched in and helped make it, as the house began filling up with sounds of friendship and laughter! Lou and Darlene, Sue and Beth (wearing very festive hats), Angela, and Jan arrived, and were thrilled when Kathy and Brenda were able to attend at the last minute! This rounded out the "Dirty Dozen" as Andi quickly dubbed us.

Beth and Sue took the lead and began the first classes on how to make beautiful earrings, and how to put charms on them. We took a break for dinner, where I spilled the first of 2 secrets I had in store for each of the Divas. I had secretly arranged for each Diva who wanted one, to have a massage during the evening. The master bedroom had been turned into a spa for the evening with waterfall music, a video fireplace and floating candles. Almost all were turned into jelly under my SIL's gentle yet strong hands. Just after dinner, many giftees were passed around, and the ooohs and ahhhs were plentiful.

We then headed down to the gathering room in the basement and then had the first of our two gift exchanges. The gags resulted in many giggles, snorts and guffaws. Pants were even wet! LOL! One with "strawberry jelly" then another with giggle leaks! We all fell into bed at a very late/early hour, still chuckling to ourselves and to one another!

On Saturday morning, we had to be up and at'em so we could get to European Papers before the store filled for their holiday classes. Before we left the house we had a scrumptious breakfast of Andi's creme brulee french toast! Jean (our resident Diva poetess) had written a lovely poem based on the night before Christmas about the Diva Bash, and Andi read it aloud to us all. Then I passed out printed copies for each Diva to keep as a weekend keepsake. High on good times, maple syrup and pecans, we dialed Jean up and sung her a boisterous rendition of "we wish you a Merry Christmas" and thanked her for her poem.

Into the cars we jumped, and made a car caravan to European Papers for our shopping spree. Giggling about the gag gifts from the night before caused me to lose concentration, and we took a quick tour thru German Village downtown before we were able to right ourselves onto the correct one-way streets. Arriving only 2 minutes late, we posed for a quick outdoor photo.

I think all left considerably thinner (in the wallet) laden with lovely treasures and inspiration of projects to come!

We headed home where Christy demoed an adorable magic wand ornament project and Lou and Darlene showed felted ornaments. ( I need a private tutorial- I somehow missed this wahh!) We had a yummy lunch, and then did our "nice" gift exchange. The only "rule" for this exchange was that it had to be a handmade piece. It could be purchased, but it had to be handmade. So many lovely things were exchanged! Although we had set it as a naughty santa swap, not much naughti-ness occurred as each piece was more lovely than the next!

After the swap, I revealed the second surprise. My friend Shelly was set up in the master bedroom with all her lovely Cookie Lee jewelry for those who had not finished with the shopping bug yet. Cookie Lee is new to the Ohio area from the west coast, and we were excited to see the hip new fashion trends.

I was graced with so many lovely lovely hostess gifts, it felt as if Santa had descended! Flowers, bath and body products, ornaments, angels, purses, candles, candy dishes, note cards, necklace holders, and so much more- what truly generous and creative friends! I am so blessed by their friendship, and was OVERWHELMED by their outpouring of love.

Then we had a bit of a break in the day and some went to Michaels, some took a nap, some emailed, and I chatted with a few and started dinner.

Kathy was excited to find her football game on the tv, though I don't think the game went her way. Incriminating photos were snapped by so many, there will be blackmail material for years!

The laughs and giggles continued as Divas came and went and visited and shared. Mike was a hit in his cabana boy sun hat and Spongebob pj's...

Then we gathered up in the studio, where I began the Clay canvas project with them. Since it was so cold, I had felt the day called for snowmen, and so many cute snowmen appeared! Each Diva did such an amazing job. I am constantly stunned at the creativity of these women! Starting with exactly the same materials and basic instructions, no two looked alike!

We ate a very late dinner that night, due to a roast that didn't want too, but then it was back up to the studio to finish off the projects. Brenda stayed up with me to keep me company as I finished off my Diva beads until 1:30 am.

The next morning, we were treated to Andi's wonderful breakfast casseroles, and then we headed up to the studio again. We finished off a multitude of projects, learned about gold thermofoils, and swapped out the Diva Rosarie swap. Sadly we watched as one by one the Divas had to take their leave back to the "real" world.

I was over-joyed that Christy could stay with us overnight, as I almost went into complete Diva withdrawl, and would have crashed without her. She helped Mike and I clean up the kitchen and put away tables and sweep, and then she and I headed back upstairs and had the most lovely time getting to know each other and make more art together!

At O-dark thirty Monday morning, we put Christy on a plane, and said goodbye to the much anticipated, much enjoyed 2010 Diva Bash. I cannot tell you how blessed and lucky I feel to have a hubby and family who helped support this and make it happen, as well as to have been in the prescence of these creative lovely women for an entire weekend!

Friday, November 27, 2009

All things Holiday

I love Holiday traditions! I love all things kitchy when it comes to the Winter holiday season in particular! I love Christmas cards, Christmas cookies, Christmas carols and Christmas ornaments. I love Christmas TV specials! Even when we have no little one with us, I must confess to watching Rudolf, Frosty and all the oldies but goodies! I love all the silliness, all the good will and all the overdone lights and decorations! I love family gathering round and playing games for hours on end! I love spending special nights out with dear friends!

Mostly, I keep deep in my heart the true meaning of Christmas, and the awesome gift given to mankind. (Luke, Chapter 2 NIV) I believe it's because I have this gift in my heart that I am so fully able to enjoy the rest of the over-done, over- commercialized and done-to-death holiday season! I invite all to jump in to the melee with me head on! Not only am I planning to partake in ALL the old holiday traditions, this year, I'm planning to start 1 or 2 more of my own!!!
In that spirit, I offer this light-hearted link to a most relaxing holiday web-site! It's "Make-A-Flake" and I could play there for hours if I wasn't so busy!

All of the flakes you see here, I easily created there in a few Bliss-filled, stress-free minutes, reliving childhood wonder of the season and all it's glory!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Circle of Friends Award

WHERE does the time go these days? In between Dr's appointments, finishing our basement, and a trip to Tenneessee, it seems as if I just blinked and almost a month has gone by!

Imagine my surprise when I found out Jeri Aaron bestowed on me The "Circle of Friends" Award. I am truly moved and touched. Thank you Jeri!
Please permit me to share with you about Jeri Aaron. Jeri is the talented author/artist of An Artful Gathering blog. She is also organizer extraordinare of fabulous Art Retreats! I have been corresponding and chatting with Jeri for some time now, and have found her to be so gracious, so kind and ever so creative! Because she is such an awesome artist herself, she uses alot of creativity to make her retreats stand out as being extra creative and unique. She thinks of all the "special touches" to make a retreat a very special and very personal event. It's not the "big, corporate I'm just a number" kind of retreat. It's the "I'm special and deserve it" kind of thing. It's the kind of retreat you would plan for your very favorite and best of friends. It's the kind of personal details that make events extra extra special, and unforgettable. I am so proud of her- I know she's been working NON-STOP in pulling this retreat together to make it extra fabulous. It is such an honor to call Jeri my friend!

Jeri's next event is the Shady Ladies Art Retreat in Salado TX (Austin area) in April next year. I will be teaching there, but was planning on attending anyway!

And as is tradition with this Award, I will continue the circle with 5 more creative Artist friends!

1. Aileen Roberts of Outside the Margins fame. Aileen is one of the most generous artists I have ever had the pleasure to know. Her Blog and her website are constantly chock-full of creative projects which she generously shares her processes with her readers. She has the coolest stuff for sale in her online store!

2. Judy Streger is "The Mixed Up Media Artist." I am lucky indeed to call talented and ever so clever Judy my friend! Her description of her projects are humorous adventures that make learning her techniques even MORE of a joy! She is a font of wisdom, and keeps me in constant giggles.

3. Kathy McElroy's blog "My Life in Pictures" does portray her wonderful art and her wonderful photo art, but doesn't tell you 1/100 of how WONDERFUL she is as a supportive friend and an intelligent and loving woman! Her art pieces art hot collectors items among those of us who are lucky enough to have some!

4. Joanne Thieme Huffman. Her Ad Libitum blog hosts STUNNING photographs of her travels around the world! Joanne is such a talented photographer and writer that she allows you to feel as if you slipped in her backpack and actually travelled to all these fabulous places with her! I'm not even TOUCHING her mixed media art - I will allow you to discover it's wonder for yourself once you visit her blog!

5. "My Angela" or at least that's how I think of her. Angela Hoffmann is like a sister-soul to me. She is responsible for encouraging me to take risks in my own art, and to believe in myself as a mixed media artist. She is responsible for introducing me to some of the best mixed media friends I've EVER had! And she has the time to do all this while being Mom to 6!!! Just check out what she's done to her walls!

Well- that should give you some fun places to pop over and visit while I try to finish up some other projects. My next post will show what I did on my Tennesseee trip and workshop with the ever-awesome Anne Bagby!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Sisters of the Secret Fatbook Society's 1st Annual Fall Fête


On Saturday, we held the 1st annual Fall Fête for the Sisters of the Secret Fatbook Society.

Hot spiced cider for all!

Although flu and family crisis' kept the numbers small, the day was a ripping success!


Upon arrival, there was my Mom's secret recipe of hot spiced cider, homemade zucchini bread and other yummies for snacking.

Jacky seems to like the cider!

Jacky from the Akron area was the 1st to arrive. Shortly after, Susan from New York showed up and we got started. We each completed several projects and learned new techniques and old tricks of the trade.

Busy Bees!

First we made feather-light frames, utilizing pretty printed paper napkins as a starting point. plexiglass, ribbons and embellishments rounded them out nicely.

Jacky busily choosing embellishments for her frame.

We broke for lunch to a meal of spring mixed greens, scalloped pineapple, orphans rice and chicken and stuffing. A homemade apple tart and yummy pumpkin cake was available for dessert.

The table all ready for lunch.

After lunch, Jacky showed us how to make adorable domino pins with alcohol ink. Much fun was had playing with the possibilities! We were having so much fun making pins we almost forgot to eat dinner!

Working away on a project.

Supper was homemade turkey chili, Mike's Famous homemade coleslaw and yummy pumpkin pie. (We decided to forgo the campfire s'mores as it was cold and rainy) ((I should thank my mom, Shirley here, as she made all the superb desserts for us. (She did win the NATIONAL Crisco pie award years back)- Thanks Mom!))

Susan gives a quick smile in between projects.

Back to the studio to finish metallic lightweight frames, and swap art goodies. By the time the day ended we were all tired and all excited about the new friendships forged as well as art made.

Goodie bags waiting to go home!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New ATC, new journal pages

Many of you know I've been sort of under the weather the last couple months, and have been very weak. I've tried to continue to work on art journal projects as I have the energy. I've been having to "work close" meaning I couldn't do projects that required lots of time on the computer or dealing with many different types of tools and materials. I actually think it's been good for me, as it's sort of forced me to revisit the basics once again. Sometimes I get so caught up in "new" products, I forget how much fun pens and pencils can be. I had sort of shelved all you can do with colored pencils or a simple set of watercolors. I feel like I'm reestablishing some basic skills.

With my job as an architectural photographer and graphic designer, precision is a highly required necessity. Sometimes, it inhibits my personal art, as I really adore whimsy. I like folksy, childlike fantasy characters that are free and fluid and sketchy. Many times I find it very difficult to let go and let flow. I'm trying to find that place in my art again. I think this time of being down will really help as I begin bigger projects again. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy some of the recent "basics" I've been playing with again.

A dragon inspired ATC