Thursday, December 27, 2012

Brave Girl Art School

I've finally taken some time to try to use some of the wonderfully generous art lessons which Melody Ross offers through her online class. YES! I had to be brave to attempt some acrylic painting, as well as show it here. This has my own adaptations and is on a MUCH smaller scale. This is only a 4" x 4.5"' I used acrylic paints and texture paste.

I think I've discovered that I truly am a person who likes instant gratification.... painting doesn't give that.......Probably why I enjoy computers and paper arts so much - quick results!!

If you haven't every seen the Brave Girl site...check it out. It's worth it!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Altered Wood Blocks

I made these based on some of the materials and instructions from an online class at

They were fun to make and I have a third block that I'll probably create with a Christmas theme.

I enjoy taking classes once in awhile instead of creating them. You always learn at least one new thing from the teacher or participants.

Happy 12/21/12!!!!!! See you on the 22nd. ;-)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Loving the Season

Yes, this is my favorite part of each year! I get to celebrate the birth of Jesus, as well as my birthday.This is a milestone birthday for me but I will let it pass with quiet events. Insurance costs too much for a fireworks display! LOL
The photos here are of some of my ATCs. A dear friend gave me a vintage receipt holder from +7 Gypsies for a Christmas present. I immediately (well, when I got home from our lunch!) loaded it with my ATCs and tags. Fun! She included an ATC she made (the one with the girl image). It's great to have my ATCs displayed rather than in a notebook!

May your end-of-the-year be all you wish for... May all your prayers be answered in the New Year.
Most of all, may those in Newtown, Connecticut find the strength they need to carry through each day.
God bless you and yours!

Monday, December 3, 2012


FINALLY, I finished decorating the family room tree. This is the more traditional tree filled with ornaments from my family and the ones we collected while daughter Heather was growing up. Tonight I decided that hanging the ornaments, or even taking them down later, is a great journaling prompt for scrapbooking Christmas memories!

The smaller tree in our living room isn't up yet. I really like it too. It's more of a gold and white theme... I will post a photo soon.
Have you finished your decorating?
Next project: Original Christmas cards 50 are completed,about 25 to go... Each is different this year. Hubby Jim is in charge of the letter. We are a Christmas card team!

Have FUN with all of you holiday traditions! Don't let the "busy-ness" get you down!
CBS .....

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I wish each of you a holiday of love and laughter with the 
special people in your life! 
Safe travels far and near too.
CBS .......

Friday, November 9, 2012


I love books. I used to force myself to write in one or remove a page, but since I discovered altered books years ago, my "fear" is cured! I've bound various styles of books for many years, but decided to brush up on my knowledge and take an online course to create a couple of handbound journals. It's always fun to review some stitches or learn some new ones. The image (sorry for a bit of blur in the image) on the left was a book made from an error. I did not measure the book cover correctly, so I made it a smaller version. The image on the right is the correct measurement. Only the smaller book has signatures stitched in, so far.

Both book covers use Close to My Heart discontinued cardstock (Roxie©). It's my view that even discontinued products used and presented should be considered a jumping off point for you to think outside the box. Use your own materials and your end result will be terrific. Now, I need to actually journal inside these journals, right?!! I am hoping to use one of these or another one with a different cardstock for a Bible study that I'm developing.

 Sometimes it seems that I'm blogging in the dark here, so please let me know you've been here. Click on one of the feedback options below or leave a comment by clicking on "no comment" which will open a text block for you to type in. Have a great weekend! cbs

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hungry Birds

  Less than 5 minutes after filling the feeder, the birds swooped in. How do they know? Are they secretly spying on me from the trees? The feeder had not been filled for weeks! Maybe I need find another job to support them and the chipmunks - I sure hope they haven't received word that the feeder is full! LOL
  Fortunately I've trained the squirrels to know that I only feed the seed they dislike - safflower.
  It's such a joy to watch the wildlife. We get a wide assortment of birds and critters.
  Guess it's time to get to my studio and stop birdwatching! Enjoy the rest of the weekend... I sure hope the East Coast receives relief soon!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Upcoming Workshops

Let me know which day you prefer for making 6 cards in my studio. You choose the sentiments, one will be a holiday card.
See samples here. Please email me with RSVP ASAP so that I have materials ready. Let me know if you have questions. OCTOBER 25 6:30 - 9:30 pm or OCTOBER 27 1 - 4 pm

Monday, October 8, 2012

Creative play guessing game

I've been playing again today and decided to offer a little interaction on this blog.

Name at least three products, including tools, that I used to make the items in the photos.

Email me your responses with "Creative Play" in the email's subject line. I will send the first person who sends the correct email response two of the items in the photo.
WHOOPS...I listed the dates below incorrectly so I'll extend this until Monday, October 15 and winners announced Tuesday, October 16.

The second correct email responder will receive one item.

Deadline is Thursday, Oct.12 at 4pm EDT.

Winners will be announced here by Friday, Oct. 13.

Have a super week!!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012


I know today is National Cardmaking Day. I am making cards, but you KNOW we get distracted when we are surrounded by our art supplies? That's what happened to me. I came across this inexpensive wooden box that is not very deep and perfect for a frame
....not sure what was in lid on it. So, I recycled it into a 3D display for a favorite photo of my granddaughter. The background cardstock is 9" x 9" and fit perfectly. This paper is from the stock that Close To My Heart used to sell. I love 9" x 9" as well as 6" x 6."

A couple of years ago I stamped on some rocks which I bought at a craft store. Three of them are now attached to the background paper with hot glue.

So glad that I used some of my older supplies, and recycled a 10" x 10" box as well!!

Hope you had some creative fun today!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Garage Sales

Another 10 days have passed since I've posted here and I can never believe that it's been so long between posts...guess that's because I'm getting "older." Hmmm.....haven't I been saying that for years??!! Ha!

Anyway, this is garage sale weekend in my neighborhood. A friend and I join together two do a sale in my garage and driveway. I'm always amazed at how tired I am at the end of the day when all I've done is sit outside (in all kinds of weather), visit with people, make myself part with my"stuff," and talk people into taking my stuff for the price I ask. Mostly I just visit and see some of the same faces each time we host the garage sale. Hmmm....maybe I actually enjoy it???!! :)

This time, in addition to selling some used craft products, I decided to add some of my handmade products - cards, boxes to hold them and some altered wooden alphabet letters. It's nice to get personal feedback on my work, as well as get new friends on my mailing list. Some of the feedback is "no sale," when they walk away without buying my work, but that's okay.

It's time to get ready for bed so I'm all chipper for tomorrow's last garage sale day....hope it's a sunny one!!

Here are some of the things I put on my sale table. The boxes and enclosed cards are made with Close to My Heart™ products.

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Silk Banner - a treasure

This beautiful hand-painted silk banner was given to me at the end of Mosaic, the 1992 International Assembly of Lettering Artists in Michigan. I was very fortunate to have directed this exciting event. This wonderful banner has the signature of each instructor at the event and I cherish it.

The only problem is that it is so large, I had not figured out how I would use it. Yes! I even considered making it into something I could wear but didn't want to hide any portion of it.

It is now in use!! My workshop is a nice working space for me and for classes but the ceiling is "open," unfinished. Now one large section of the open space is draped with the banner and I LOVE it! Of course, a few times when I walked in that area, I found myself ducking - haha...I just wasn't used to have anything over my head there!!

In addition to this delightful banner, I also have LOTS of beautiful envelopes from the wonderful calligraphers who attended, including the instructors. I need to photograph them and put them into a memory book for me. If I hide the addresses, I could make them public but that might destroy the designs on some of them. We'll the meantime...........

have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering those we lost on September 11......may our country never see that kind of horror again!
Blessings to all the families and friends of those lost on that day!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Thinking Christmas - REALLY??!!!

Ok....I don't WANT to be like the stores with the Christmas-before-Halloween-much-too-early planning but, really, we DO have to plan out our cards if we want to get them designed, constructed, addressed, sealed, stamped, and mailed on time.

I have designed our Christmas cards for about 33 years, mostly around my calligraphy, but more recently with papers and stamping. The cards that focused on my calligraphy were perhaps easier once I finished the camera-ready hand lettering and sent it off to the printer. One hundred and fifty cards and envelopes came back all scored, return address printed and I just had to fold, sign, stuff, seal, and address. (My husband is in charge of the annual letter.)

Soooo, I don't know WHEN I decided each card should be totally done by hand, but, there you go, that's what happened. Sometimes I do write a verse in calligraphy, scan and print it to attach to the inside of the card.

I can't tell you which is the better way, but I'll probably change it up again one of these days. This year I am a bit early on cards because I taught a Christmas card workshop - that always helps get me on schedule.

Here are a few examples of cards and gift tags with NO stamping or calligraphy yet. This is from the Close to My Heart® My Reflections® Pear & Partridge B&T Duos®Paper. I also used the chipboard from the same collection. The beautiful colors are Cashmere, Cranberry, Desert Sand, New England Ivy, Olive, and Smoothie. Check out this beautiful collection and at least "think" about the holiday card you are going to send to WOW your friends and family.

Happy Back-to-School time!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Blank Page

Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead (Gene Fowler)

    This quote is usually in the back of my mind when I begin a project. I found this quote in my early days of working on calligraphy projects. I'd have all the materials in front of me, including a beautiful sheet of whatever special paper was chosen for the project. I'd load my pen nib with ink, practice some strokes on scrap paper until the ink was gone.

   And then........
I'd stare at that beautiful paper, clean the pen nib a little more, straighten the work area, grab a nail file and work on my nails a bit, get up and straighten a shelf of supplies, discover a book I'd forgotten I had.............and..........

   I waited for the blood to form on my forehead, but the procrastination had to end. Finally!  I made the first stroke of the first letter and once again fell in love with the beauty of the ink blending with the paper and I was on my way to a finished project.

   Somehow that procrastination of mine carries over into many things, making cards, putting a scrapbook layout together, cleaning a closet or a drawer.....

   Thank goodness, no blood ever formed on my forehead or I would have required several transfusions by now!! whew!!
                                Do you procrastinate in your creative process too?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Halloween already?

Yep! I made a luminary with a Halloween theme. I will make each out of different card stocks for  my Christmas card workshop attendees.
Try them with Thanksgiving and Christmas themes. It is fun to walk into a friend's house at a holiday and see your gift on a table or mantle with a flicker candle inside.

I am so glad someone invented the flicker candles....wish I had thought of it!!

If you want the directions to make these, send me an email with Halloween in the subject line!
Happy-back-to-school time!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Wedding Guestbook Completed

The guestbook for the wedding of my niece Carly and fiancĂ© Sean is finished. The album was one that I've had for awhile. It has beautiful flower petals embedded in the handmade paper on the cover. I used most of the handmade pages that came with the album but hand-colored all of them. The paper for these pages is delightful....great texture and strength.  I took the whole book apart and rebound it with a stitched signature and adhesive.

Other pages in the book are made of various cardstock. Eggplant, green, white and cream are the main colors with Eggplant highlighted to match her wedding color choice. These pages contain pockets for an assorted number of tags. Guests will be able to leave a message, or just a signature on tags or on any page - wherever they want. There should be enough room for Carly and Sean to journal on pages or tags later on.

This was a joy to design and create!!
Enjoy your weekend...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Stapling Tip

I can't believe it's been 7 days since I've posted anything!! Where DOES the time go? I have been very busy getting some projects designed and underway. I'm finishing up a guestbook for a niece's wedding.....such a joy to do these!! I'll post photos after she's seen it. But, I used a technique with staples that I've not seen before and thought I'd share it. Maybe you already do on the Paper Clipping Tab above for details.

Have a fun weekend!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Using the Sun

I decided to use the sun today when I found a package of solar paper today. This was exercise too 'cause I had to keep walking outside, then back in and back out again.....well, it FELT like a lot of exercise in this heat!

Anyway, here are the results. Recognize some of what I used? Exploring a new way of using Dreamweaver Stencils was fun too! I tried to use stencils that were best in blue.

Next attempt will be to incorporate these in other projects.....stay tuned.
......enjoy the weekend.....

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

34th Anniversary

    Nice memory --- the early years of marriage and anniversary celebrations...... getting all dressed up for fancy dinners at a favorite restaurant, surprise gifts for each other (and my husband is good at surprise gifts!!), and time together.
   This year, our 34th was a fun weekend. Our daughter Heather, her husband David and granddaughter Emmalee took us to our fancy dinner out at Mario's in downtown Detroit - a good restaurant that has been around for a long, long time. It was a 34th celebration for Heather too because she is Jim's daughter and I adopted her a year after we were married.
   We also drove around downtown Detroit and were excited to see all the activity. Jimmy Buffet and Lionel Richie were in concert at the ballpark. There were people everywhere. It was sad to drive by the old ballpark location - an empty, fenced-in lot, but good ole Corktown looks like it's stayin' alive.
   I used to work in downtown Detroit, my husband and his family would make fun trips to downtown Detroit when he was young - to shop, to eat at the Hudson's tea room, etc. I hope it becomes a vibrant city again.....the architecture on many of the buildings is beautiful!
   ANYWAY, our actual anniversary was the 29th and we spent the evening with our 3-year-old granddaughter Emmalee at Chuck E. Cheese!!!  I've gotta admit, it was a special evening!!

Enjoy your August!!
p.s. The building above (former Michigan/PennCentral Depot) is broken down, falling apart and one of my favorites in Detroit because I saw part of it in a beautiful stage in the mid-70s. It is privately owned now and I hope it's restored to its glory!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

3M Scotch Bling

I had the chance to Bling out a Scotch tape dispenser at the booth at the Craft and Hobby Trade Assoc. Trade Show! Watch for it at so you can vote for your favorite.

Die Cuts With a View at CHA

Cute owl at make and take here. Cool sparkly paper.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Craft and Hobby Association

I'm off to the Chicago location of the Summer Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show in the morning!! This woman is DEFINITELY excited to see new products and meet some of the people who are talented gems in the craft and hobby world. Hopefully I can share some photos and thoughts on Tuesday or when I return home.

Blessings to you as this week begins!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Altered Album for Niece's Wedding

I DO enjoy making mini-albums and using older books as a part of the creation. My niece wanted a guestbook that wasn't the norm. She wanted something that she could leave sitting out in her home for years after the wedding. So that's what I made and I'm hoping she likes it, because I LOVED making it and will now design one for a Christmas theme.

This album uses the covers of an older book. Usually I use the whole book but decided to cut the insides out and used two 2 -3/4" hinged O rings for binding the album.  She will use this for guests to sign when they arrive at the wedding reception. There is only one photo but she can add photos later if she likes. One of the fun things is that the album is filled with tags for guests to sign. although they will be able to sign pages as well. Some of the tags are plain manila that I've distressed a bit. Others have ribbon, stamping, pearls, and other bling. (side note: Boy, were the rings HARD to find! I finally found them in a kit for storing floss. I wanted 3" so that the book lays flat when open, but the 2 -3/4" ones work fine.)

The colors are eggplant, aqua, beige, brown, green. I was concerned about the aqua color she requested but it worked out fine. When she picks up the album, she will choose what embellishment she wants on the cover.....embossed initial, chipboard initial entwined in the twine (that's a mouthful if I were reading this!), or a little burnished brass emblem. She may want to keep it as is with a square of embossed gold.

As soon as I get my gallery setup - still working on that - I'll post photos of the pages.