Thursday, May 31, 2007

School's out!

School is officially out for the summer and the busyness of summer kicks in by next week! For June, I have Sam signed up in a 3 week science class, they both have swim lessons, and Vacation Bible School. June will fly by.

Sam did really well on his report card as I knew he would. I was pleased to see his reading tracked so I know exactly what level he is at. He just finished 1st grade and is reading at a level close to the end of second grade! He did really well in everything AND, he got the teacher we really wanted for him for next year! We are thrilled! And, one of his best friends will be in his class again making it their 3rd year together. We tried calling his other best friend, Anthony, whom I have a terrible soft spot for, to see who his second grade teacher will be but we haven't been able to get hold of him yet. We are feeling impatient. Sam and I will both be disappointed if Anthony isn't in his class next year. I plan to make reading to his class a weekly thing next year as well and also Max's class. We still don't know who Max will have for kindergarten but with the two teachers I put down as my top choices, I can't go wrong.

I got the results back from all the skin biopsies taken last week and they all came back clear! No skin cancer this time! I'm thrilled and relieved. It is great news.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Max's bear

I found this drawing of Max's underneath the coffee table yesterday when I was running the vacuum cleaner. Isn't it the cutest thing? I just love it and think I may have to figure out how to get it on a t-shirt for myself!

Being vulnerable

I just read on a friend's blog "I wish I could draw or paint watercolors like that"... she was talking about ME!!! Well, I am honored with the praise. But what I'd really like to do is encourage.... it never looks good when you are just starting to learn something that takes a ton of practice! Perseverance is the key! When I finally decided I wanted to learn to paint, I found out that there was a prerequisite of 2 semesters of drawing before I would be allowed to take the painting class... and with good reason! (but I weaseled my way out of the second semester :] ) I signed up for the drawing class and had not picked a pencil up in many years. THIS is the drawing from that class the first day of class! We were not permitted to throw our AWFUL drawings away as they would be reminders of how far we'd come by the end of the semester. I'm so glad I didn't throw it out but truthfully, few people have ever seen this hideous piece! But I have decided to show it so maybe it could be encouragement to someone who really wants to learn. There's always a starting point and it's usually ugly, as you can see... but if you stick with it, you will learn and soon, you will like what you see on the paper.

Recycling with jeans

OK ya'll, I came up with the cutest idea yesterday! I was cleaning out my boys clothing drawer of pants, since they won't be wearing them for a long time now, and pulled out all the pants that Max put holes in the knees. It was quite a stack! I decided to cut them all off for "play in the mud" shorts, or whatever. Anyway, when I got all the legs cut off, I looked at my little stack of legs and picked up a denim leg staring at it when the idea came to me to sew up the cut edge and make a gift bag out of it! I needed a gift wrapping idea for Max's little tins of magnets for his 4 teachers and these turned out to be the PERFECT size! And aren't they cute?! This idea would work great on shirtsleeves too! Since I chose to close up the end that I had cut, I already had a hemmed end for the top of the bag. This project took all of 30 seconds to do! And, since Max ripped all the knees out of his pants at school, I thought it appropriate that his teachers got gift bags made from them! I remember one week he tore knees out of 3 pair of pants! I was happy to have shorts weather come because I was desperate needing to go pants shopping and didn't want to have to buy more so close to the end of the season! We barely squeaked by with me doing laundry really often! I think next fall, I'll put patches in all the knees of his pants ahead of time!

I also sat yesterday and made cards for a total of 15 teachers/workers at the kids school. I simply took black cardstock (my most favorite color stock) and sewed on photos I printed off of some of my favorite pieces of artwork. Because my black envelopes are 6-1/2 in. squares, I jsut cut my cards as one sided 6-1/4 inch squares and wrote notes on the back of them. They all turned out nice. I love the clean look of a card without a bunch of stuff... just a main focal point. It gives the appearance of a framed piece of art with the black cardstock appearing as matting! And they are fairly quick to make. I'm thinking of making some card packets to sell in my Etsy store.... maybe....
My 16-year-old niece, Cassidy, is in town from Florida. She's staying at my mom's most of the time but we are going over to see her after school today and she is staying the night with us on Friday. We'll be picking her up Friday morning so we can have the whole day with her. The boys are beyond excited!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Max's magnets....

were a flop! The ink from my printer ran on the paper even thought I sealed it. Then, I added a little more of the clear stuff last night and it made the whole magnets look cloudy and ugly. So, since I didn't have enough bottles caps or enough magnets, I needed to try to salvage these. I got out my alcohol inks and inked them then added a very thin layer of the Aleene's paper glaze and sprinkled a very light sprinkle of fine glitter. Max thinks they are beyond cool. Here they are:

My only disappointment, really, is that I'd wanted them to be something that was a personal gift FROM HIM! It hasn't turned out that way. Next time I'll take my images to kinko and have them laser printed... or send scans to Fran and bribe her to print them! I'm thinkin' it wouldn't take much of a bribe! LOL! Anyway, maybe Max can make pretty cards or something. Bummer!

Sunday, May 27, 2007


OK, I've been thinking for months that maybe I'd open and Etsy store. For those of you who don't know about Etsy, it's an online store for artists to sell their things. Well, I finally set one up and listed a couple of items. I have some canvas pieces to post but I"m trying to figure out the shipping costs for something like that as well as where I'll find boxes for shipping of that shaped of an item. If anyone has advise, I'll take it! Trying to guess at shipping costs is hard! Anyway, here's my Etsy store. Please keep in mind that it's bare bones right now. I know I still need to add a banner and jazz it up a bit but for now, I'm getting my feet wet... and for those of you who know me, I don't like swimming.

Now, I'm a little bummed about the outcome of Max's bottle cap magnets. I used an inkjet printer and sealed the paper before using it with a wet medium... however, that didn't stop the ink from running. They aren't a total loss, as far as I'm concerned... they look more abstract. BUT, Max hasn't seen them yet and I'm thinking he's gonna' throw a fit! And now, I don't have enough bottle caps to start over! I may be shopping tomorrow....

Sam's book

Well, Sam and I finished his book! It is titled "The Bermuda Mystery". I think his teacher will love it! Here he is holding it. Didn't it turn out cute? If anyone is interested in reading the story, e-mail me @ and I'll send you the document. It is quite a story!
We decided to make bottle cap magnets for Max's teachers using drawings of his. I had him draw 3 different flowers with markers and then I scanned and sized them to fit. I have them all drying right now. They turned out really cute. At Max's preschool, he has 4 different teachers that work with him so teacher gifts can get costly. Especially when I buy for all of them at Christmas and the end of the year! I think it will be more special to have something that Max helped make. They will each get a set of 3 magnets in a cute tin. I think I'll try making some of my sewn photo cards tomorrow to go with all the gifts. Busy, busy....
I'll post pictures of Max's magnets when they are dry.

Friday, May 25, 2007

crazy day

Well, today was crazy! I got the boys to school and stayed to read to Sam's class. I got home at 8:30 to eat and clean up a bit. Then, I made a post office run and went down to the church prayer room for an hour. When I got home, I came into the studio to start working on a birthday gift for a dear friend who turned 50 today. I thought I'd do something simple like a soldered necklace pendant but wanted to use an oblong flat backed marble with words collaged to the back and then taped up and soldered. Well, I was almost finished with some wire wrapping on it when it completely came apart! I mean, just came apart. So, now on to plan B. Only, by this time, it was time to get the boys from school! So I asked them if we could change Family Fun Day to tomorrow so I could get Louise's birthday gift finished. They were angels this afternoon letting me make her gift. I decided that the sizes of glass I had for soldered pendants were too big for Louise and didn't suit her so I ended up pulling out some beveled glass pieces a fellow artist friend, Jan, sent me from Ohio. I decided to make some sort of larger soldered hanging piece for a wall or something. OK, so I wanted to use the words of Louise's favorite hymn along with some images and other religious stuff. The piece is reversible so it could be hung from the ceiling to view both sides at once or she can just change it every one in a while on a wall. It took me ALL afternoon! Plus I made her a card. So, here it is:

Now, here is the April Journal quilt IN PROGRESS. I still have to do some embellishment as well as the quilting. It has taken many hours just to get this far! I decided to sorta' go with the theme listed for April within my JQ group which was weaving. I think they meant fabric weaving which I'd planned but the plan went a different direction. The weaving I did is somewhat visible in the close up photo. I did a paper weaving of a hymn and some Hebrew writing from the book I got at Fran's at Passover. The weaving of two beliefs. I used a transparency printed from a watercolor painting I did several years ago of the sheep. The lamb is symbolic for both the Christian and Jewish faiths and since April was the month of celebration for both Easter (Jesus being the sacrificial lamb) and Passover (the sacrificial lamb also being part of the celebrating). The transparency is sewn on and then pieces into all the crazy fabrics. I love these fabrics. The colors have representational meaning for me with them representing sin that Jesus died for, the blood he shed, hope, grace, peace, new life, growth and joy. I hope to maybe finish this piece next week. I'm thinking for the embellishment, which will go below the sheep, I'll make a soldered microscope glass piece with the word "Sacrifice" and sew it to the piece. Of course, the plan could change at any given moment!

For the weekend, I'm helping Sam finish writing a story so I can bind it for a special teacher gift to be given to his teacher the last day of school, which is Wednesday.

Now, I'm beat and headed for bed! I have to catch up on my housework in the morning so I can have some fun time with my boys tomorrow.

I'm featured!

I have been featured in an artist profile here:
It's mostly about my creative process so if you are interested, go check it out!

JQ is coming along but more time consuming than anticipated although the process itself is simple. I'll be lucky to finish just the front of the JQ today after working on it over 6 hours already! And it's only about an 8x10 size!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

making a mess

Well, I'm working on a mess in my studio! And it feels great! I'm trying to play catch up on my Journal Quilts. I never did one for April and now May is almost over. I have an idea for May's page but it took a while for the April page to come clear enough in my head. In my JQ yahoo group, a theme, color, and technique are highlighted each month but are optional. I have ignored them thus far except that when the theme for April was weaving, I really wanted to work with that. However, my piece isn't really woven fabric, but paper. Part of it anyway. I've so far created a central piece that will be sewn into fabric. And gosh, the springboard was stopping in my local fabric store that just makes you want to crawl on the bolts, wrap yourself up, and stay there. My local Sew 'N Vac (yes, you read right) has the largest fabric selection in the state and it is right down the street from my house. And I mean EYE CANDY! They have an enormous selection of hand dyed and batik fabrics. And you should see the number of oriental themed fabrics! Very unusual and beautiful pieces. The section for just oriental fabrics is about the size of my studio! Anyway, I bought 9 delicious selections of 1/4 yards to use in my April JQ and then added in a golden yellow I had as well as a small piece of blue/black vintage kimono silk that I got from Katie Kendrick's online store
I'm anxious to get back to work on my piece. I'm suppose to go to Fran's today to mess up her studio but we may have to postpone due to tooth problems she is having. Getting to the dentist is more important than play time right now. If I go to her house, I'll take a different project. This fabric one would require too much work space. I spread way out when I sew! I actually set my ironing board up right next to my table with machine and raise it to the same heighth as my sewing table creating extra work space to my left... and then I just turn in my swivel chair to iron seams. However, I do have to get up if I need to use my cutting mat which is at a different table in the room. Anyway, maybe I'll have something to show later today....

On a different note... I went to the dermatologist on Monday. I'm suppose to go at least twice a year and I was a few months overdue... and had to have SEVEN biopsies done! I'm waiting for results now and will see if I have to go back in for some more removal. I also have pre-cancer on the bridge of my nose so we are trying a new topical medication to see if it will deal with the pre-cancer cells. I really, really don't want to be vain and not make an issue of things having to be removed from my face but it is hard. I know that my skin is just my shell and has nothing to do with who I really am but the truth is, I do care about having to be cut on my face. I've already had several basal cell skin cancer spots removed from my neck and a plastic surgeon removed those and did a nice job lining up the incisions with natural creases in my neckline but it's sorta' hard to do that on your face! I'm just not going to worry about it and take it as it comes. Only one biopsy had to be taken from my face just above my eyebrow so if I do have to go have more taken out, I think the incision would scar so close to my eyebrow it wouldn't be very noticable. Hey, maybe I could get a little eye lift in with the deal... oh wait, I'd be lopsided.... I'm not ready for that yet either! Don't know if I could do plastic surgery just for looks. I want to think I wouldn't even consider it but you never know. That's way down the road of possibilities too. Freckles keep me looking younger... they finally have a positive purpose.

Ok, I need to go get showered. It's almost time to get my kiddo's up for school. Less than a week of school left and then the real craziness begins!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A clean space isn't all it's cracked up to be....

OK, so I got the clean studio I had been dreaming of and working on for months only to find that it sorta' zapped my creative flow right outta' my brain. I've barely even done anything kind of art. Part of me just doesn't want to mess it up and the other part just doesn't feel like doing it period! I've had a bunch of stuff going on and have been battling major sinus headaches but I've done very, very little creative stuff and it just feels yucky! So all of you that have a messy studio... well, at least you are having fun!

I did sorta' start a piece for the Quilting Arts "doorway challenge" but I think I may be insane to attempt it.

I got together with Fran today after not seeing her for 10 days! That's WAY too long, I tell ya'... and we talked our heads off! LOL! I'm planning to go over to her house this Saturday since Chuck and all his guy friends have their annual "guy music weekend", which includes Ernest Borgnine this year... literally... they pick him up at the airport tomorrow! Anyway, Chuck will not be here and Fran's hubby is in an all day Poker tournament so I'm taking the boys over to swim.

I have boys calling me from bed so I have to run... arghhhhh....

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

It's clean! It's clean!

I finished cleaning out my studio yesterday! WOOOOOHOOOOO! Almost everything is labeled too but I did leave some drawers without for now because I'm still not sure if I'll leave things in the drawers the way they are right now. I may switch some things around. But for now, everything is put away!!!! I"m so excited. Now I REALLY want to get busy playing! Here are my pictures but please know that my studio is 100% for function. I see some studios that look like a gorgeous room in a magazines. And while I'd love that, I don't have that. It's strictly for function down to the recycled cat litter buckets for trash cans! LOL!

Both my boys are home from school with sore throats and yesterday, I found out the strep was going around in Max's class so I have to leave in a few minutes to take them both for throat cultures... there's another $50. down the tube... and I just had Max there less that week ago! Arghhhh... oh well, that's life.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

It's still dark outside

My son woke me up at 4:00 needing more light on. Chuck had just come to bed! Why he didn't just get back up when he heard Sam instead of nudging me to go in and check on him, I don't know. If I get waken like this around this time of the morning, I just rarely can go back to sleep. Then, to top it off, my hubby has this weird thing with his legs that just twitch REALLY BAD when he's trying to go to sleep. Laying in bed with him like this is like being on a ride at an amusement park... without the amusement. I stayed in bed literally praying that God would make Chuck's guardian angel sit on him to make him be still so I could get back to sleep. Didn't happen. After a half hour of twitching and tossing torture, I got up. I walked into my studio, which faces west, and was met with the most amazing sight of the moon setting. I gasped out loud. It was so huge and yellow with a few clouds glowing around it. I ran outside in the dark trying to capture a photo but without a tripod on my digital camera, I just can't hold it still enough to get a good photo with the shutter speed slowed down for night shots. So, that didn't work. I was surprised at how quickly the moon dropped from the sky and disappeared. Had I stayed in bed 5 more minutes, I'd have missed it.

Sunday night, Chuck stopped by a friend's house and while inside, someone threw a rock through the window of his SUV and stole his NAV system and tried to get his laptop, but that was hooked into this traveling desk thingy that he has rigged up in there so they didn't get it probably cuz they couldn't figure out how to unhook it, thank God! We were both shocked because this friend lives in a very affluent neighborhood right on a golf course so you just don't expect drive by rock throwing and robbery to take place like that. You think that stuff only happens in bad neighborhoods or something. Anyway, The BMW dealership is so great giving him a car to use and hopefully, it can be repaired quickly. I think the insurance guy needed to go check it out though.... or something like that.

Last week, my Women's Bible study ended for the spring session but today starts a 6 week mini-class so I'll be going to that this morning. We always break for the summer and I usually feel like I'm walking in the desert during that time. However, planning to teach in the fall will keep me grounded in the Word and focused since I'll be doing lots of studying and planning the class.

Yesterday, I spent the whole day in my studio getting back to the last of my cleaning out and organizing of stuff. I had little baskets of little bitty stuff, embellishments, trinkets, etc... and also a 12 gal. bin full of assemblage items that needed to be organized. I got through almost all of it and will spend a little time today clearing off the table I was using to sort things. I also started labeling my drawers and storage boxes. AND, my fabric is more accessible. I have all my fabric in clear 12-gal. storage boxes and the 4 I'm into the most, are stored underneath my 8 ft. table. Well, it seemed to never fail that the one I needed to get into was on the bottom of the stack and then there's the dragging it out and opening lids. It was driving me nuts! So, I have them all flat out on the floor with the lids off so now I can just see what's in them and slide them out to dig! And my helpful hint for storing fabric is either folding or rolling it and standing it on end. Flat folded it's more like the fabric is "filed". Then you can see everthing you have at a glance. Anyway, I'm going to turn on a light now and see if I can finish up some clearing of the table before I have to go make lunches and get kids up for school! I'll post a picture when I'm completely finished!