Dec 31, 2011


Waaaaaaaayyyy back in September when I finished up my 30 Days project, I had no intention of taking such an extended blog break. Sheesh!

See, I took pictures to share!

And I even made some art. I just never got my butt in the chair to actually share stuff with you.

All is well here. It was a happy, busy fall, full of art and work and football and fun. Much to my surprise, I chose to bring some new friends into my life. I'm still adjusting to the added busy-ness that brings, but on the whole it's been delightful!

The word RELEASE has chosen me for 2012. I already started on the solstice by releasing some emotional junk I'd been holding on to much too tightly. It feels wonderful! RELEASE has so much potential. I think it will be a good word and a good year.

I'm ready to fly into the new year. How about you?

Sep 26, 2011

Days 22-25 of 30 days of creativity

I finished up this little piece, which mostly involved gluing things down. This is 8" by 8" collage and paint on a pre-stretched canvas. For the rubber stamps, I stamp them on tissue paper and then glue them down like any other piece of collage. Makes my inner control freak happy.

I've been collecting pretty fabric at yard sales all summer and Sunday I turned some of it into this little tote bag. I donated it to the breast cancer fundraiser we do at work, so some lucky person will win it in our raffle.

I've also been playing around with making these little charms and stringing them on necklaces which will be sold as part of the breast cancer fundraiser. Can I just say how much I love stamping words on washers?

Sep 22, 2011

Days 20 and 21: Resolution

It's funny, this creativity thing, some days you do a bunch of work and don't have much to show for it and other days you're sick with a stomach bug and don't do much, but the little bit of fussing you manage looks good. Some of the bits and bobs resolved into reasonable compositions these past two days. Although I'm not so sure about that big flower, I think it's a little overwhelming.

This piece still needs a ton of work, but now I have a direction.

These pieces and some others I've been working on are a little different than my usual style and frankly I've been wondering what the heck I'm doing with them. So it was nice to also get a bit of resolution on that front as I recognized that I sort of have a series going on here, little composition exercises using elements that draw me in.

Sep 19, 2011

How did it get to be the 19th?!?

Sheesh, that went really fast! I have been keeping up with my daily creativity even though I haven't kept up with the blogging. Mostly still working at bits and bobs in the background. I also attended a great Fabrications Quilt Artists meeting at Sew Uniquely You. Next month I'll be demonstrating hand embroidery stitches - contact me for more info.

Here's another little encaustic experiment. Better, but still nothing to write home about. But it's the doing that matters!

Here's some more bits and bobs. I'm s-l-o-w-l-y getting a little more organized in the studio. I do a lot of throwing different elements together to see what happens. I'm thinking this process will be facilitated by being able to find all the different elements. Just a theory. ;-)

Sep 13, 2011

Back on the wagon: Day 12

Not much to show for days 8 - 11 as my creative time was limited to looking through books and letting ideas marinate. My friend Dianne says sometimes making art is more of an internal process. I'm going with that.

I got back to physical art making last night as I started messing around with these little pieces of wood I had covered with plaster a couple of weeks ago, inspired by this beautiful book.

The madonna piece started with a Holy Toast stamp pressed into the wet joint compound. Yesterday I carved into the dry plaster and added some paint. Needs more work but I'm not sure what.

The flower is a first attempt with encaustics. Clearly I need WAY more practice/instruction if I'm ever going to do much with this medium. I'll probably scrape this off and try again. But I'm posting a picture because it's a great example of another benefit of the 30 days of creativity plan: the crap quotient.

The crap quotient is the idea that making some really crappy art is an important part of learning and growing as an artist. When you're committed to making something every day, it's so much easier to accept the crap quotient. It's just part of the rhythm of daily making, rather than a frustrating "waste" of precious creative time.

Sep 7, 2011

Days 6 and 7: in the background

Days 6 and 7 of my 30 days of creativity have been rather unglamorous, but very satisfying. This is the background of a small mixed media quilt I designed several months ago. I hadn't finished the quilt because it felt kinda bland and impersonal. I finally figured out that I could add both visual interest and my personality by adding the hand stitching that I love so much.

These little unglamorous "background" tasks are the reason I took on the 30 day challenge. It's the designing that's exciting. The followthrough is more challenging for me. Sitting still to do all the little unglamorous tasks is easy to let go by the wayside, especially when I'm tired after a busy work day. But the added incentive of the 30 day challenge has me turning in relief each day to these simple tasks, all these little things that happen in the background of making art.

Sep 5, 2011

Days 3, 4 and 5

Wow, Pistol and I are loving this Monday off after my trip to Seattle!

Days 3 and 4 were busy with driving and football but I managed to get some stitching done in the car. Today I finished up the necklace I've been working on. I loved the wire work I did on this and have lots more similar ideas to play with.

Sep 3, 2011

I didn't forget day 2

I was just too tired to post after working and pigging out in the park.

I just love the sweet little samplers that Charlotte Lyons cooks up and I when I saw the cat and the rolling hills in her latest design I couldn't resist. I'll be working on this more today in the car.

Sep 1, 2011

Testing blogger+ and 30 days of creativity

So I've been playing around making these bits and bobs and this morning I sat down and started putting them together. And that counts for day one of the 30 days of creativity challenge my friend and fellow artist Celeste called on me to join. If I can just make this blogger+ app work, I'll have an easier time blogging about my daily creativity.

Wish me luck or, better yet, join me!

Aug 12, 2011

feeling crafty

I've whiled away some very happy hours this summer working on some fun little crafty projects I've dreamed up. This little pillow was crafted from some old quilt scraps I picked up at a yard sale.

One of my bigger projects earlier in the summer was getting my guest bedroom whipped into shape. I had purchased a lovely vintage bed frame at an Angel's Attic sale last fall but it didn't have bed slats. So I bought some 1"x6" boards and used my power saw to make my own bed slats (girl power!). I cut one of the scrap pieces to just the right size for a little beach sign and painted up this pretty for my mantle.

Last weekend I finally picked out 4 of the beautiful fat quarters I've been collecting and actually made this little bag that I'm currently using as a purse/journal bag. It even has gussets and a magnetic snap! It was soooo fun to make!

I'm thinking about doing a little tutorial for the bag if I can figure out how to explain the gussets. Maybe one for the beach sign too?

Aug 8, 2011

Art Party!

The backyard is finally whipped into lovely beautiful shape and last week I hosted an art party.

We set up a table under the maple tree (with a side table for treats!) and got busy making crowns, painting masks and journal pages, collaging and, of course, visiting and sharing.

I love the snake earrings Tasyn added to his pirate mask!

Tasyn and Shelby took to spray painting like fish to water and made some really awesome stuff.

In fact, their wonderfully layered compositions inspired me to make one of my own. This piece is 18" by 24" and going to Ash and Ben as a wedding gift.

Coming up: more summer weekend adventures and some of the stuff I've been making.

Jul 12, 2011

fruits of summer

One of the many things I love about summer is all the yummy fruit. Mmm, berries and peaches!I had peaches that were on the verge of too ripe (that's what happens when your eyes are too big for your tummy when it comes to buying all that wonderful fruit!), so I made a crisp. There was a container of raspberries that needed to be eaten too, so I threw them in on top.

I like a super-simple crisp, no goopy brown sugar or spices that overwhelm the taste of the fruit. Mix 1/4 cup butter with 1/3 cup each flour, white sugar and oats. Bump it up to 1/3 and 1/2 cups for a bigger crisp. A couple of dabs of butter on the fruit before the topping will help keep the fruit from boiling over the top. Sooooo delicious!

Sunday Mom and I went out to Greenbluff to pick strawberries. I have to confess that I'm not a big fan of the ginormous strawberries from California and Mexico that you get at the grocery store. They're ok, and I always buy some early in the spring when I'm craving some juicy red fruit. But it's always there in my mind that with a little patience I can have these little explosions of sweet juicy sunshiny flavor right off the bush. Heaven. This year it took a little extra patience as all our local fruit is running about 3 weeks behind, thanks to the endless cold rainy weather. Farm Chicks is celebrating Strawberry Week this week. Go check out the yumminess!

Gratuitous cute cat photo!

Jul 5, 2011

Painting summer

First, thank you so much for all the kind, sweet, tender comments both here and on Facebook. It was hard to post my story, but it was also very freeing.

Second, here's a little something I painted this weekend. I started with a nice layer of molding paste to make that yummy texture. I love the color too...feels like summer!

Jun 29, 2011

Did I waste it? Not so much I couldn't taste it, Life should be fragrant, Roof top to the basement

This is the sight that made me cry at AshLees wedding. AshLee dancing with her dad to U2s Kite. I recognized the song and watched her tuck her head into his chest and all of a sudden the tears were streaming gently down my face.

I havent shared here about the events that brought about such huge changes to my life 4.5 years ago. Its not that its a big secret, Ive shared my story with both friends and strangers when the moment seemed right. I guess the moment just hasnt ever seemed right here. This is a place where I share my art and creativity and the things that bring me joy. And while Ive found tremendous creativity and joy since the end of my marriage, the fact, and the story of that end are very painful for me.

We met as 18 year old college students. Neither one of us planned to meet the person we would marry at 18, but we agreed that you dont pass up something special just because it doesnt happen like you planned. We married at 25, by which time I was overjoyed to officially become AshLees stepmom, a role I had already embraced. Although I worked and was involved in various activities, my focus was on building a family and a home with them. It wasnt perfect, but I felt like we trusted and understood each other. We were best friends. He told me I was his best friend on the day he told me he didnt want to be married to me anymore. He moved out a week later and proceeded to cut me out of his life as much as possible. I think it was easier for him that way. He did say that his leaving should not affect my relationship with AshLee and Ive been blessed to retain the close bond she and I have.

Needless to say, I was devastated. My entire world had been yanked out from under me. It didnt help that I lost a job that I loved 2 months later. But I held my head up and learned that pain can be very clarifying. The stupid things I used to worry about melted away. I relaxed. And I began dreaming about how I wanted to live the rest of my life and I went to work to make those dreams happen.

4.5 years later, Im at peace with the end of my marriage. I have a happy, fulfilling life that I love. But I was still rather apprehensive about Ashs wedding. Would I really have a role as part of her family or would I be a fifth wheel bumping along rather uncomfortably? As it turned out, everyone involved welcomed and included me as part of the big crazy family of people who love this amazing girl.

And when she danced with her dad, to a song that holds deep meaning and connection to the two of them, I thought about that connection, and the family life and jokes and traditions and quirks the three of us shared, and I cried tears of joy. Joy that our time together had happened and that I got to be a part of it.

And so now, it finally feels right to tell this story here in this place where I document happy things in my life. Now Ive found joy in this story, all that much sweeter for having survived the pain.

And yet I'm still a little bit terrified to publish this post. To lay myself open in this way. But, with some encouragement from the lovely Liv Lane, I'm working at being more open and authentic. And honestly? This story is such a huge part of who I am today, such a huge catalyst for the creativity and joy I now fill my life with, that it just doesn't seem right to hold it back any longer.

*The title of this post is a lyric from the song Kite by U2.

Jun 22, 2011

She quilts!

It's true! I am a quilter! Much as I love to paint and make jewelry and journal, and and and, quilting is my first love. I love the colors and textures. And there's something about sitting down to stitch that calms and comforts me like nothing else can.

Blossom 20" by 20"

This is a piece that I hand dyed. I quilted/embroidered it with perle cotton. I'm really loving using embroidery as the quilting, combining two things I love to do. You can see this piece up close and personal at the North Idaho Quilters show this Friday and Saturday at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds in Coeur d' Alene.

Jun 18, 2011

True beauty

This is me today. The real me, as I am. With the ten extra pounds and the wrinkles and the pimples on the same face. With the messy house, the weeds in the yard and that darn double chin. The girl who turned the wrong way this morning on the way to the hairdresser I've been going to since I was 16. And the truth is, none of that matters.

What matters is that today my sweet beautiful AshLee will marry her sweet beautiful Ben. And we will all gather together, her crazy hodgepodge of a family, to share our joy for them as they set out on the life they've chosen to share. We will come as we are, beautiful in our imperfection, transformed by our shared love for these two. And that is the most beautiful thing I can imagine.

Jun 7, 2011

some new paintings

Pistol and I have been spending tons of time out here lately, but I did finally get back to painting and finished up these three little angels.

I think this little blond girl is my favorite. I figured out how to mix this nice blond hair color by accident in Sunny Carvalho's class at ArtFest.

These three are a series I painted as a commission for my friend Lynn.

It felt good to paint again. Need to make more time for that...

May 19, 2011

Pistol says...

I like to act like a well-groomed, dignified house cat...

but at heart I'm a goofy little dirt cat!
(I sure hate that wet towel mom throws on me before she lets me back inside!)

i love my book club...

It's not about the books, although we've read some great ones, including this one. In fact, we don't spend much time talking about the books...we're usually too busy talking about every other topic under the sun.

For us, it's about the friendship and the food! Once a month I get to have a great meal in the company of these kind, interesting, funny, wise women. And every time, as I sit with them around a table, I feel so blessed to be there.

Apr 25, 2011

Stamping and Stenciling at Sew Uniquely You

I had so much fun teaching at Sew Uniquely You on Thursday.

I took a big box of stamps, stencils and paint, along with my lovely assistant Shelby (pictured above). I demoed my favorite techniques and then turned everyone loose to play.

The flowers in the piece above were done with a stencil. Below, the same artist flipped the stencil over and ran the brayer over it to get a negative image. Very cool!

I love how the piece above turned into an Alice-in-Wonderland-y story.

So many wonderful pieces! I'm sorry I don't have names, if you see something here that you made, please leave a comment so I can add your name.