Monday, December 31, 2007

Trying again

Hey, it worked this time!  Here's me and my Max man.  He was so excited to give me this big CZ necklace that he was jumping out of his skin saying,"you're gonna' faint when you see it."!!!  He's so funny.  Gosh, he looks so much like my hubby when he was a boy... except Max has my hazel eyes instead of blue.  I should find a childhood photo of Chuck and put them side by side for ya'll to see.  It's shocking, I tell ya'!
Hey, look, I got another one to load!  :)  This is both boys in their new bathrobes from Grandma!  They didn't know what they were when they opened them!  LOL!  However, they are now really into wearing them.  So much so that Max, little character that he is, has discovered that if he puts it on when his skin is still damp, the lint sticks to his body so, he now wants to intentionally wear lint "chest hair".  I'm not kidding.  Sam saw him with black lint all over his chest and told him he looked like he was going through puberty.  I looked at Sam, puzzled, and asked if he knew what puberty meant... keep in mind that he's 8.  He said, "I think it's when you go to see the Statue of Liberty and pee"!!!!  I almost fell out in the floor laughing.  Now how did he ever come up with THAT?  LOL!  Yesterday, while getting ready for church, Max wanted me to give him 'chest hair' for church.  When I told him it wouldn't stick once he put his clothes on, he wanted me to tape it onto his chest!  He's only 6 and he wants chest hair!

Mellowing out

Well, now that craziness is over from the holiday, things are settling in.  One of my boys favorite gifts, especially Max's, was the basketball hoop and ball that Chuck purchased for them sorta' last minute.  Of course, his shopping is usually last minute and almost always something "big".  Next year we need to coordinate gift buying better.  I'll find out his "big gift" plan ahead of time before buying stuff while I'm out.  I want to scale way down next year on gift purchases within my family.  Anyway, after many talks with my boys about safety and stranger danger, they are now allowed to play in the front yard without me being out there with them.  Believe me, I'm at the window almost constantly and if we didn't live on a side street that didn't have through access to main streets, I'd never agree to it but usually, the only cars on our street are from neighbors who live here on the street.  Anyway, my boys think they died and went to heaven.  Now, Chuck and I park our cars on the curb and the boys have the entire driveway and carport so they have been riding bikes, scooters, skateboards, a go cart, and playing basketball almost non-stop.  They don't want to come in at all!  Once the basketball hoop went up, Max literally stayed out playing basketball almost ALL day for a couple days straight.. just shooting and dribbling.  This is a 6 year old people!  And OMG, he's really good!  I was stunned!  I had no idea he knew how to play! He's trying to teach his older brother how to properly dribble and how to aim for the "square" on the backboard to make the baskets!  It's so fun to watch him.  He's a natural at sports while Sam is not... Sam is the brain who wants to grow up and have his home look like a book store!  :)  He talked about owning a bookstore and naming it Bookmania.  The name is probably already taken but I loved that he was thinking like this.  He's so fun to take book shopping.  He never tires of it.
Well, I was going to post a few pictures but am having some difficulty.  See, Chuck bought me, one who has sludge on the non-artist side of my brain, a new 24 in. screen MAC for Christmas.  It hasn't been an easy few days.  While I'm very grateful for a new computer, having to learn new stuff and figure things out, not being able to find things, etc... well, let's just say I don't adjust to change easily, especially when it's sudden and requires the other side of my brain.  I'll try loading pictures again but who knows... you may not see them!  
My boys were so excited to give me the gifts they purchased for me.  Max got me a necklace and Sam chose a pair of earrings.  I'll try to upload the photos of me with each of my sons but keep in mind, this is taking bravery to a new level.  These pictures are of me just crawling out of bed... pajamas, no make-up and I hadn't even thought of looking in a mirror so just know I clean up ok.
Here's me and my Sam, whom I've nicknamed Sam the Yam... he could totally be a couch potato either in front of the t.v. or computer for the entire day if I let him.  

OK, I FINALLY got that photo loaded so I'll try the one with me and Max.  I'm having trouble because when I try to upload more than one photo at a time and then cut/paste them in the body of the text, for some reason, the second photo over-rides the first and just deletes out the first.  Now I'm going to try again and see if it will work now that the photos won't be "next" to each other in the post.  Here goes the try with me and Max.  Life with this child will never be dull... that's a guarantee.  Well, now blogger is sorta' "locking up" and the photo just never loads.  I'll have to try again later.  I've now sat here for over an hour trying to get this far!  This is ridiculous!  I'm throughly frustrated now.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A little art time... early in the morning

I just finished this piece as a gift for a friend who happens to be our pastor. However, it is not a Christmas gift but a Rebirth-day gift. December 23 is the date he came to know Christ over 20 something years ago. I will give it to him tomorrow. I wrote a letter to him explaining the piece, etc... so instead of me explaining it again here for you, I'll just post a copy of the letter and save myself some writing time! :) The scripture that has prompted this piece is John 17: 20-26 which says:
20 "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25 "Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."

On a more personal note, I'm pretty much finished shopping for Christmas with only a ocuple of details left. I still have several bags for the homeless to deliver. Sam just lost another tooth so he has one and a half top front teeth out! He looks pretty cute. I have also spent HOURS cleaning out my kids play area and rearranging things to make more room for play on the floor so they can stay off MY side of the room since we share a room for my studio/their play room. That was quite a project! I don't know why but I always get "spring fever" around Christmas... I guess it's all the extra chaos and clutter that just sends me in an organizing frenzy. I just can't stand all the "stuff" around.

Oh, now, on to John's letter and please know that John has quite the sense of humor so if any of the letter sounds kinda' weird, he'll get it:

December 21, 2007

Over the past couple of years, God has been increasingly showing me and teaching me about “Jesus in me”. He has shown me things with my own eyes that I have difficulty even explaining to someone else! Now, He seems to be constantly running a tape through my head allowing me to ask the same questions over and over about what it really means that Jesus is in me.
I became a Christian when I was 7 years old and for most of those years as a Believer, I have imagined Jesus as “little”. You know, ‘Jesus in my heart’. Truthfully, I sorta’ pictured him much like the Plankton from Spongebob. And while Plankton is my favorite character on the show, I have found the Jesus is nothing like Plankton…. Jesus isn’t “little Jesus in my heart”, He’s BIG Jesus who is in every fiber of my being. He’s in every molecule of my DNA. He fully and completely embodies me and every Believer. WOW! This is HUGE! I am continually asking God to make me so aware of this every moment of the day so that my attitudes and actions can be completely turned over to Him to ‘act out’ or ‘speak out’ with me simply being a vessel. Oh how different I would be if I could truly grasp the magnitude of powerful love the lives in me! The creator of the entire universe lives in my body and wants desperately to be able to use me as a vessel. Yet, He patiently waits and never forces His way. My prayer is that I can be so aware of His presence in me that He just seeps out. I am awed as I come to know the reality of His presence and power IN me. Not beside me, in front of me, behind me, but IN me. How wonderful that He can be in all of those places for me but something happens in my heart and mind when I take in the fact that He dwells IN me.
For months now, I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out how to do some piece of art as a response to show what He has shown me and I could not figure it out. Then, two weeks ago, when you were speaking on Sunday morning functioning on only 2 hours of sleep, THAT’S when God showed me how to show it! On so little sleep, you may not remember saying this but you asked everyone to raise their hand for ‘something’ and then you said, “those of you who didn’t raise your hand are lying”! Well, I was so engrossed in this art piece in my head that all of the sudden I snapped out of it and thought, “what did I just lie about?!” I have no idea what you were talking about at that very moment but I do remember your heart. And what you kept saying over and over was the word “Remember”. Remember who God is. Remember who you are. Remember what He says. Remember the truth. So, as I sat there listening and creating in my head, I sensed that this completed art piece was to be yours. Not for Christmas celebrating Jesus’ birth, but a birthday gift for you celebrating your new birth in Christ over 20 years ago. Your re-birthday: A day of celebration to remember that He is living fully IN you for eternity!

So, while this piece is full of flaws in my eyes, being imperfect shows my humanness but the message is from Jesus and that is perfect. I pray that it is HIM you remember each time you look at this piece. Max saw it and said, “Wow mommy, you made a trophy!” Well, I hadn’t thought of it like that at all but when I looked at it, I thought, “Yes, I guess I have!” It seems fitting. Now, each time you look at this ‘trophy’, REMEMBER:
*He is fully IN you.
*He will never leave you.
*He is IN you for eternity.
*Because He is in you, He literally experiences everything with you.
*Since He is IN, He has bound Himself inside you and will never come out.
*He’s waiting to use your body as a vessel.
*When you acknowledge His fullness in you and allow Him to use you, HE is the one who permeates everything you touch and lives are changed including yours!
*He and the Father are ONE and He is ONE in you as well. Love itself embodies you. (Look up the scripture verse on the bottom of the trophy stand.)
*Now stand back, smile, breathe deep, and feel the Love, John!

So, John, Happy Re-Birthday! I pray that your heart will celebrate both yours and His birth this year in a new, life-changing way!

In Him,

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I've been asked for the instructions for the little tie bag I showed you in the last post. I wish it was my original idea but it wasn't. It was on the sulky site. Hopefully the link shows up for you.
However, in making it, many, many other ideas began to form....You know how it is....

Monday, December 10, 2007

More art

Thanks to everyone for their help with my blogger problem. I'm now writing in the "compose" window and will see how the pictures upload!

I have been working on a project most of the week. Assemblage pieces really test my patience with drying time but I have finally finished this piece. It is a gift to be taken to my Leadership Women's Bible Study brunch tomorrow morning. We were each asked to bring a token of some kind that represents something God is teaching us this year in Bible Study. Of course, I can't go buy something! It must be handmade! So, this assemblage formed. It is dimensional and very difficult to photograph due to glass and the mirror in the piece so I had to photograph it at angles. Here they are:

I know the angles are weird but it was the only way to show the depth of the piece. I almost pulled out my hair with the mosaic of beach glass on the outside. I've never done mosaic before and once I got it done, I didn't like the color of the grout so I painted it a metallic silver, which I really didn't like either. My original intent was black grout but then I thought it may make the entire piece too dark overall. So, I finally compromised with my original plan and had to repaint the grout AGAIN using black glaze. It gave a very similar look to the patina on the soldered area so I'm pleased with the outcome now. I don't yet know the recipient of this piece. This is my first year in Bible Study leadership so I am not sure how this exchange goes. I'm looking forward to the morning though.

In one of my yahoo groups, a link was posted to a Sulky thread site that gave instructions for the cutest little cell phone size bags made of a men's necktie. I knew I had to try one since I have an enourmous stash of silk ties. I made this one for my neice that will be sent with Christmas money tucked inside.

I got several gifts wrapped today too and this little purse is the only one left to wrap and package before heading to the post office to mail all my out-of-town gifts.

I'm having a lot of fun gathering things to put together gift bags for the homeless. I finally found white gift bags at The Dollar Tree so Sam is in charge of decorating them. So far, my favorite is Santa on a motorcycle wearing dark sunglasses and the sentiment is "Have a Cool Holiday"! Isn't that funny? Only Sam.... Once he finished the bags, I'll be able to unload a boatload of stuff from my car and then the boys will be put to work helping pack the bags. Then, I'll be driving them around looking for homeless people on the street to pass out the gift bags. I want the boys to experience giving on a different level instead of the constant "me, me, me" attitude that makes me want to hit things.

Well, a pile of clean laundry is calling me... gotta' go fold before bed.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Need Blog Help

OK, for all you with Blogger out there, please help me. When I first started using blogger and I uploaded photos, the photo itself would show up in the body of the new post I was creating. I could then click and drag the photo around. Then, all of the sudden, several months ago when I uploaded a photos, it showed up only as the computer lingo code... whatever it's called. The photos no longer show up. So I have to try to read through the codes (when I upload more than one photo at a time) cut and paste it somewhere in the body. It's so much more work! Does anyone know what happened and how I can get it back to being able to see the actual photo in the body when I'm composing a post? Help would be appreciated... in VERY simple terms please!

Fran's gift

I delivered Fran's gift to her yesterday and am pleased that she loved it. I had difficulty getting a good picture of the whole piece since it measured more than 40 inches in length and is skinny. But, here are some shots I took of it. It consists of 40 beaded prayer pillows to commemorate Fran's 40th birthday. I attached them all to a triple folded to create tubes on the outside edges which I slid dowels into. I added a beaded hanging wire and beads off the bottom. Each pillow has a different fabric and is beaded differently. Fran's picture of the over all piece is better than mine. You can see it on her blog:

And, I forgot to post the picture of my little rusty metal building fronts I purchased last weekend! Aren't they darling? The largest one measures about a 4 inch square.

Last night, Chuck and I drove in the pouring rain downtown to the Phoenix Convention Center for a 25th Anniversary celebration dinner/fundraiser for Neighborhood Ministries, which was started by a woman in our church 25 years ago. It is an inner city ministry that has grown from a small food bank to a large series of buildings for a food/clothing bank, clinic, classrooms, church, etc... and the next phase of buildings is in the works. It was amazing to see what God has done. There were over 800 people at the event last night! We were given a beautiful book at the end of the evening full of photos and the history of Neighborhood Ministries. If you would like to learn more about this amazing ministry run by Kit Danley and her very supportive husband, Wayne, you can log on to

Thursday, December 6, 2007


I finally finished Fran's 40th birthday gift a few weeks late but I can't post pictures until tomorrow after I give it to her!

I have an assemblage in process and during drying times, I created this watercolor journal as a gift for a friend. I reconstructed a vintage hymnal which is very fitting for Billie since she plays piano beautifully as well as teaches. She often plays at church. It's not a terribly thick hymnal as you can see so there are only 20 pages in this book. Half hot press and half cold press paper. I kept the book simple as I think Billie would like it. She's new to art and is just venturing into watercolors and I want to really encourage her. I saw her eyes light up when I mentioned watercolor journaling so that was the idea for the journal for her.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Fran's blog

I just noticed that Fran updated her blog about our trip with a few photos included AND, she posted a photo of the gorgeous tote that she made me for my birthday! Go look!

Weekend with Fran recap (LONG)

First, go grab a cuppa' Joe cuz this is a long post! As you know, I went away this past weekend with Fran for our first (but NOT last) girl weekend. We drove up to Prescott, AZ, only about an hour and a half drive north of Phoenix. Prescott is my favorite town in AZ. It's a small town with the cutest, quaint, downtown square and it's in beautiful mountains. Not a far drive from Phoenix but a drastically different landscape and atmosphere.

On our way, we stopped at a little roadside antique store that was jam packed full of stuff. We wandered around for probably 45 minutes to an hour. We got some vintage linens to cut up and I got THE coolest little rusty metal building fronts. I haven't photographed them yet but will when the sun comes up so I can post them. I also squealed with glee when I saw lengths of rusty barb wire for sale! so, of course some of that came home with me!

Fran and I had tried to find a cute little B&B available for the weekend to no avail so we'd booked the Holiday Inn. Well, the night before we left, Chuck asked me where we were staying and when I told him he was like, "Uh, why are you staying THERE?" Then, his next thought and action changed our entire weekend! He remembered someone that use to attend our church who moved to Prescott and have a little place the rent out. Well, by weird chance, it had not been booked for the weekend like everything else had... the town square X-mas lighting with a parade was happening on Saturday and apperently draws quite the crowd. So, We lucked out... no, we were divinely blessed to get this DARLING 2 bedroom, one bath loft overlooking the city and an amazing mountain view with that entire wall of the main living area being windows! It was breathtaking! And the place was so freakin' cute!

The downside of the weekend, which really wasn't a downside if you look at it with a different perspective, was the weather. It started raining on our way up there... then we were driving in fog. It got cold and windy. Friday, we stopped for lunch on our way up there and then did venture back out that evening for dinner and back to the loft for a girl movie. Between arriving at the loft and dinner, we both journaled our first watercolor journaling pages. Well, Fran has done some watercolor journaling. This was my first page ever:

Well, we woke Saturday and could barely see beyond our deck. The fog was so thick, it had been pouring rain, winds were 30-40 mph, and the temp had dropped during the night to the low 20's. We plopped down at our table and continued our watercolor journaling, which we'd started the previous afternoon, but had to get pretty creative with what to paint since we didn't have much of a scene to paint due to the fog! I'm so very thankful for the windows or we'd have really felt trapped. I got a few more pages painting on Saturday. Here they are:

Now, please keep in mind this was my first time doing this. It's suppose to be fairly fast work. However, I am not fast. I spend too much time on a page doing layers of color but I kept trying to simplify, really, I did! The painting of the coffee cut is so wonky it's not even funny. I did not draw anything out with a pencil first... went directly at it with a pen from the get go so I didn't really check the dimensions too well... the cut was not this tall and thin! Oh well... it captured the "essence"... it's certainly not a picture perfect likeness! The bathroom floor tile was my fastest page and you can see why. I didn't even try to make it all perfect. I just slapped stuff down!

Anyway, Saturday, our view changed drastically literally from one minute to the next.
We'd never seen anything like it. We did get a rainbow!
When we had a moment of lifted fog, we ran for the door to go to town to eat lunch. We had a magnificent lunch at my favorite restaurant called Murphy's, which is in an old bank building. It was quiet, not busy, and the food is phenomenal! While there, we not only ordered lunch but also dinner to go since we knew we weren't coming back out for the day. We went back to our loft to continue painting and later, while eating dinner, watched a couple more movies!

We woke Sunday morning to a breathtaking view. The weather had completely cleared and we could see for miles and miles. I literally got out of bed, walked to the coffee pot for my coffee, sat down at the table, and was painting within 5 minutes of waking up! The mountains in the distant were really something to see with the sun rising and casting purple and pink hues. Here is my journal page:

The temperature was suppose to be in the 50's, which it was. We ventured out for coffee and browsing through some little galleries and shops. Fran and I are perfect partners to do stuff together. We are on the same wake/sleep schedule and we both have low tolerance for certain things... one of them is walking around shopping. We both hit our limit within a couple hours. We grabbed some yummy soup on our way back to the car and went to the loft to eat and enjoy our view before packing up our stuff and heading home. We arrived at my house at 4:00 to be greated by a very fried husband and two little boys with a stomach virus. Max got sick Friday night and Sam on Saturday night so Chuck really had an interesting weekend.

I'll leave you with a couple of other pictures from the weekend. Fran working and a gorgeous woodpecker that I managed to capture with my camera. The bluebirds were just too high up to capture. Bummer! And, you can see our work table for the weekend.

I am very thankful to God for giving me a friend like Fran. I never knew such a friendship was possible! Someone that you are completely comfortable with, can go long stretches of time sitting with and have no music, tv, or anything else in the background and just be silent, someone you can laugh spontaneous with, and someone who even speaks the same exact words at the same exact time even when the subject got changed... well, it's a gift. I am incredibly blessed! Fran, I love you and can't wait to do it again! I'll always treasure our memories of this weekend!

And OH, I almost forgot! I have to photograph the most incredible birthday gift that Fran made me! OMG, you guys will just die when you see it! I almost did! I'll take pictures and show later... along with the darling little rusty metal building fronts!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Girls weekend

I just returned from a weekend away with my best friend, Fran. It was fantastic! I'm too pooped to tell everything tonight but will leave you with a small painting I did while we were away. I left it in the darling little loft we rented for the weekend as a thank you. I'll post more pictures and tell all tomorrow!