Thursday, December 31, 2020

Goodbye 2020!


This has been such a challenging and difficult year for so many people and I doubt many people will mourn it coming to the end at midnight.

But I have been very, very fortunate that I have been able to work from home since mid-March. My creativity has continued and I have even blogged more this year than in the last five.

I wish you a very Happy 2021. There is new hope with the COVID-19 vacines beginning along with a brand new administration in the White House. 

Stay safe, everyone! 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Sail Away, Sail Away


It always feels so good to finish a project. This one has languished for about five years! It is from a paper mache ship pattern by Ann Wood. While on vacation this week, I was able to complete it. Instead of using cardboard, I used watercolor paper and painted it with good artist grade acrylics.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Turning scraps into Mini Books

What can you do with remnants of acrylic painted watercolor papers? That's what I wondered in March, as I began sorting these colorful strips by size.

And then last weekend, I had an answer:  fold them into little accordion books!

Free or Inexpensive Online Art & Craft Classes




Strathmore  a variety of drawing, painting, art journaling, bookbinding classes throughout the year; past classes are on YouTube


Dick Blick – the art store has all kinds of project ideas and live Facebook events


Laly Mille – painting, collage, art journaling with some free tutorials


Amy Maricle – variety of drawing and painting classes done each Friday afternoon and available for replay over the weekend


Ann Wood – hand sewing, assemblage patterns and tutorials


Darlene Oliva McElroy – “Relics of a Lost Civilization” hosted on Facebook using assemblage, mixed media, sewing, etc.


Nellie Wortman -- How to make a simple book and paint inside it


Lyn Belisle a few free classes in mixed media, bookbinding, assemblage classes


Gelli Arts – blog devoted to gelatin printmaking with lots of information and video tutorials


Mary Beth Shaw – Stencil Girl creator has free Tuesdays and Thursdays in September “What Day is It” streaming lunch sessions with playbacks as well as other videos available on Facebook


Roxanne Evans Stout – The Thread That Weaves and Nature Journaling II





Alisa Burke –LOTS of classes, drawing, painting, photography, art journaling; starting from $15


Ann Wood – hand sewing, assemblage patterns and tutorials starting at $6


Lyn Belisle – mixed media, bookbinding, assemblage classes starting at $10


Sonya Gonzalez – painting, collage, mixed media all classes $1 each



Sunday, September 6, 2020



Last weekend, after playing in my Boho Fabric Journal I was inspired to work with this face shard I've had for years, from Lyn Belisle. The base was a rectangle of crochet I made in color-changing yarn of purple, green, and teal colors. There were four holes in the fired clay face—one at top, two on one side, and one on the other. After lots of auditioning, rejecting, more auditions, more rejections, I was running out of time and made several decision. One section is braided yarn (left side), the other two have various beads—the thinner one is seed beads on Irish linen thread.

I made this necklace in June. The base was a neat metal piece that looks like it’s from India—I’ve had it for ages. I wired in the bells individually and even broke one of the holes while doing it—I’m not much a skilled jewelry-maker (and that’s OK!).


Each of these has a tribal feel to them. If you like that kind of style, check out a wonderful new online class from artist Darlene Olivia McElroy called “Relics of a Lost Civilization”. It’s a free class, open to everyone, on FaceBook. Before reading anything at the site, I already had a lot of ideas and inspiration.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Friday, August 21, 2020

Surf's Up


Pencil, pen, Pitt artist pens, India henna stencil on pastel paper

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Gel Printmaking

I had a blast playing with my new 5" x 7" Gel Press plate, craft paints, ink, punched circles and rings! Although I have a large size plate, I was curious about the versatility of making smaller pieces. The small plate is perfect to use on left over pieces of paper, inside handmade or commercial journals, and even on card stock or computer paper. The compact size also offers the ability to use the plate as a stamp.

This print includes waterproof ink, which broke up the craft paint.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Creating during the Coronavirus

When the times started changing in March, I was very upset, emotionally and physically, and downright scared. Creativity was pushed pretty far back in my mind. When my campus began the phase of working remotely, my studio turned into my office. There was such a steep learning curve to figure out how to do my job virtually. Once that part got ironed out, the days got easier, my stomach settled down, and routines took on a rhythm. I am so very grateful I can still earn a living while so many people are really hurting because of the country shutting down and sheltering in place.

I made this crochet heart necklace with Tim Holtz metal embellishments from some heart shapes made a while ago.

Then, for several weeks, I worked on felt hanging birds. They are made from craft squares I had on hand and are hand-sewed as well as glued together, then stuffed. I made a big boo-boo on the second strand—the ribbon is on the outside instead of the inside. But it’s done and now hanging with little bells at the bottom and my husband and I can see them daily.

My friend several states away and I are working on journals that we will exchange. Our collaborative journals have interesting paper that can be removed, worked upon, and re-inserted. They aren’t too big or have too many pages, so we will work half in each and then mail to each other for the other’s contribution.

I had been curious about Dina Wakley’s denim journal having pages of blue denim, white burlap, and heavy cotton pages. I adore the color blue as well as blue denim, so I was attracted right away. On the first page, I sewed a piece of metal-embedded fabric I cut into the shape of my hand. It was a fabric remnant I happened upon and then used pressed into acrylic paint.

And, these yarn-wrapped sticks were inspired by Shelly Rhodes wonderful book “Sketchbook Explorations: For Mixed-Media and Textile Artists” as well as Amy Maricle’s spirit sticks.

Take care everyone--stay healthy and safe!

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Holding 3-D Items

From left: a Connamara Worry Stone from Ireland, a stone from Beachy Head, England, and a shell & pine cone from Portmeirion, Wales

These three items were in a travel journal I made about my first overseas trip but they were so bulky, I removed them from the pages. It took me a long time to decide how to use them. Accordion book? No, it would still need more room.

I glanced around my studio and saw my little Altoid tin shrines and a light bulb when off. A great solution! 

From left: Childhood is but a Day, Artifacts, and Disconnect

Selecting a tin that once held spices, I saw how nice and deep it was inside. I cut up some acrylic paintings on watercolor papers into rectangles and used eyelets, Irish linen thread for the first two items, and tiny brads for the clear acrylic medium holding the pine cone and shell.

For the outside, some Tim Holtz numbers and a "Remnants" word band.

The inside front inside lid has part of my acrylic painting that adorns the travel journal, tying it to my 1982 Journal as well as hiding the brads.

The 1982 Journal (bound in April 2018)

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Altering Reality

Why be content with reality when you can change it?

I was disappointed with photos I took with my new camera last fall but changed one using a simple technique. The river in the park had turned muddy brown from recent rains and the focus were off in other shots. I cropped the image and printed it but it was less than exciting.

But there is a feature in Microsoft Word called “Artistic Effects” under Format can change the look of any graphic or photo.

Bring in your photo, double click on it and the Format menu will appear. Now you can have fun and be an Andy Warhol making variations on the same image! Click on Artistic Effect Options and you can fine-tune the color and saturation.

I played around with the Plastic Wrap, Cutout, and Glow Edges. And then, I changed the color temperatures and found many images I liked.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Fabric Roll-Ups

A few months ago I found a pattern for a make-up roll-up in a sewing book and thought I could adapt it to use to carry utensils for lunch. My first template, for myself, used the 18" one I used for the denim pillow.

Using fabric I bought intended for a tote bag, I made an acceptable and useful product.

But thinking about making some for gifts I learned a lot making four more and changed the original size to 16" square. These are not perfect by any means, but handmade is always better than perfect, don't you think?

I found single servings of utensils and straws and tucked a note about the materials in the largest pocket.

Having a Christmas deadline made me push past the set-backs and problems I encountered. When the clock is ticking and when you are focused, you can finish projects. I need to remember this!