Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Today is the Day

December 30 is the day, another day in my life but it's my birthday - a birth date that I share with a couple of my friends. That has made it more fun. I had lunch with one yesterday and today I celebrate a decade mark for another friend.

It was fun to go back through old photos and find the ones here. My ringlets in my hair were made by my mom...I believe she wound them around cloths at night. I wish the skipping/hopscotch photo were clearer. This is probably a typical young photo of me....dresses and ringlets in my hair. Pleasant memories of my young years.

Not sure I have ever really dreaded a birthday or the aging process. As everyone says these days, "It is what it is." Of course my body says,(sometimes softly, sometimes screaming) that I'm getting older.

My young memories included the request for a buttercream cake for my birthday dessert choice. As I got older, french fries and shrimp are my birthday dinner choices and chocolate dessert of any kind. Of course a bread pudding with a candle it would make me grin ear to ear! I seem to remember my mom did have a birthday party or two for me but mostly just family. One year when I was just out of high school, I hosted a birthday party until it got out of control...people invited people I didn't know!! NOT a welcome surprise!!!

I know my parents followed guidelines that I prefer even today  - birthday and Christmas are SEPARATE! If you buy something for me for Christmas, don't say you'll wait and give it to me on my birthday ...arggghhh!!! Don't wrap my presents in Christmas paper!! Bossy, aren't I? I think most of us with birthdays around a holiday feel the same way.

I've had some crazy birthdays back in my single years,  a  terrific surprise party on my 40th, and alone time on other birthdays...each has been a special memory.  Each birthday, each DAY is such a blessing. As we get older, we realize how fast the days fly by.

Sometimes I do grumble about the appearance of a wrinkle, the extra weight, an aching back or joint, but I am here. I am loved by family, friends and most importantly by God. I try to wake each morning by personalizing this quote, ""This is the day the Lord has made, let me be rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24)

My wish for you on my birthday is that you welcome each of your days with joy and thanksgiving!

Blessings in the New Year.......

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Birthday, Jesus

Luke 2New International Version (NIV)

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Glory to God for the gift of his son.

Wishing you the Christmas blessings and a
Exceptional New Year!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Matthew 1:20-22 NIV

" angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[a] because he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:20-22 NIV



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Wishing you a Merry, Magical Morning

We used to entertain a lot, and I enjoyed decorating our home. We still entertain a bit, but on a smaller scale. The decorating is a little less, but probably much more than most. I love the sparkly changes to the rooms we are so used to seeing.

 Backtracking to when I was young. My parents continued a tradition that I believe began with my father's father.  My parents TOTALLY decorated the house (inside and out) and the tree on Christmas Eve AFTER we went to bed. Can you believe that?? I always wondered why my mother got laryngitis on Christmas Eve......she was exhausted. By the time my youngest brother came along,  my other brother and I helped decorate but still kept the tradition for the youngest one.

It's difficult to explain how magical Christmas morning was because of this tradition.  Just picture going to bed with only a tree in the stand in the living room. Parents and kids having a snack, kids off to bed with nothing else out of order. The next morning (probably shortly after my parents just fell asleep) we were bounding into their bedroom to have my dad go see if Santa had arrived.

After a bit of grumbling (and probably being sent back to bed a couple of times), my dad would go downstairs and announce whether Santa had been there. He would turn on all the Christmas lights (it was still dark outside), start the train under the tree and then say we could come downstairs (I imagine he got the coffee going too!)
I believe my mother went downstairs first then the three of us to a magical transformation of the house. EVERYTHING seemed sparkly and bright and cheerful. You see, Santa not only brought gifts but he decorated inside and out!! Yes, my dad did the outside lights on Christmas Eve as well! Amazing gift they gave to us - a magical morning!!

My brothers and I continued some of the traditions but not decorating the whole house on Christmas Eve - at least I don't think they they did. I didn't!!! :) I still liked to make it magical for our daughter on Christmas morning....only thing we added was music.

May each of you who celebrate have a Merry Christmas, remembering the gift of Jesus whose birth we celebrate. To all of my friends, may you have a magical New Year!


Saturday, December 5, 2015


This first week of December certainly has flown by - arrived back in Michigan from my road trip to and from Corpus Christi, TX, and YES, I did the Horses on the Beach activity. Notes: It was fun, the guides Chester and Adrian were terrific, the other riders were nice, the day was lovely and one hour of horse back riding after many, many years was enough!

I rode out on Cash - he decided when we got to the beach that he did NOT like the white, fluffy foam that was blowing across the sand, sooooooo, he raised his front legs and then made a jump to the right and I was heading to the left, and OFF of the horse. Fortunately, I pulled back on his reins, grabbed the saddle horn and held on, breaking several nails in the process. He decided to test me like this about 4 times. My wrists, hands and legs were strained to the max with tension, but I held on. (Patting myself on the back!)

When we reached the half way point down the beach, Chester offered to switch and give me his horse while he tried to get Cash used to the blowing foam. I didn't hesitate, but I must admit it made me feel a wee bit good when the horse tried to do the same thing to him.

So I rode out to the beach on Cash, and rode back to the ranch on Fiona. I wasn't quite as sore as I thought I'd be the next day. Actually my back hurt worse after driving almost all the way back to Michigan in pouring rain --- talk about tension, whew!

So, now it's time to get teaching proposals submitted, finish decorating the house for Christmas, design our Christmas card (yikes, I don't have much time!), and get caught up with my Advent Bible Journaling. Of course there are lots of other activities with friends over the next few weeks! It's a busy but fulfilling time of year. The only bad part is that our daughter and her family won't be able to come home this year.

Our town of Rochester is lit to the max - each storefront looks like a jeweled gift box - it's something to see! Tomorrow I will spend the afternoon/early evening in downtown Detroit for Noel Night activities - there are storefronts that are lit like the Rochester ones and so many people walking around enjoying all of the activities....carolers, bands, carriage rides, etc. It's all very special!

May your December be filled with memorable events.

Blessings and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Thankful Thanksgiving

The snow is flying in Michigan while I am thankfully enjoying the warmer climate of Corpus Christi, TX, and anticipating a visit to San Antonio for a couple of days. The trip will include a Thanksgiving Day buffet dinner ....couldn't find one in Corpus Christi. 

I enjoy exploring each destination when traveling to where my husband is working. We'll share the San Antonio outing but most of the time, I'm exploring on my own.

Looks like the next adventure for me will be horseback riding on the beach. Now, I do like horses but I usually don't seek them out for a ride, when my car is so handy!! I haven't been on a horse since I lived in Florida in the early 70s. Guess who will need a refresher course? Are there horseback riding refresher courses or is it like bike riding -- you never forget? Horseback riding on the beach has requirements.

Horses On The Beach, Corpus Christi, TX
Of course, they recommend wearing jeans are back in Michigan -  I brought hot weather clothes. They recommend shoes that won't fall off appropriate riding boots are in emergency snow boots are in the trunk of my car. Snow boots would work but my feet would sweat, sooooo sneakers will have to be my shoes of choice. My husband is not showing an interest in joining me, but then he is in work mode, so I guess I will head out on my own. 

The other option is to stay back at the hotel and "play" with the things I brought in my traveling art kit, or read a book, or go to the beach and watch the waves. Nawwwww, I think I'll give the Horses On the Beach a try. 

I won't promise to post photos (well, maybe one of the horse when I'm not on its back) but wish me luck...............

How do I take photos when I'm bouncing around on a horse's back?? 

Hmmm....I don't have a helmet........

Should I take carrots........

oh well......

off I go........

Blessings on this 2015 Thanksgiving!.........

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Women's Bible Journaling Group

Last year, a group of Bible study friends began a Women's Bible Journaling group with a really interesting study of Jonah.....such a rich book of the Bible!! We decided to continue this form of Bible study by following our church's weekly messages given by our Pastors. To me this is a natural way to journal......carrying throughout the week the thoughts we pondered at Sunday services.

Our next theme was The Great Physician.......we journaled in our Bibles and/or notebooks. I tend to take notes during the sermon, then listen to the message again, read the scriptures relating to that message, and put notes and artsy sketches in my notebook.  The artsy part may be clipart, something I've sketched, or embellished lettering.

I return to my Bible and add my finalized notes and art relating to the theme I want to remember. We are so fortunate to have the audio and video available on the church's website each week. St. John Lutheran Church, Rochester, MI

Our group renewed our meetings last month - usually the 3rd Saturday of the month, alternating between my home studio and church. The recent sermon series was "In Everything.........Pray" so we are spending a couple of sessions on that theme. We'd love to have you with us. We're out of sync this month so we are meeting this Saturday, Nov. 7 from 1 - 4 pm in my home studio.

If you would like to join us, please send me an email: This is the type of study that you may join at anytime. I usually have extra material but it's nice to know you'll be there so I can be certain you have everything. Just bring your Bible, some colored pencils, regular pencil, eraser and a composition notebook or any notebook you'd like. I will provide everything else.

Bring your lunch or a snack if you want, dress comfortably and if the meeting is in my studio, we may get messy with paints, etc. Dress warm in the wintertime.

I think you will find that this way of being in the Word is so meaningful because you linger a little longer.
If you aren't in the Rochester, Michigan area, I encourage you to find an online Bible Journaling group or one in your area. I will add some links to the tabs at the top of this page soon to help you on your way!



Sunday, October 11, 2015


As a substitute elementary teacher over the past 7 years in 2 school districts, I've gained more than I probably taught the students.

First, is the wonderful artwork that hangs on my refrigerator (with my granddaughter's). It's always a shy passing of the paper from the student to me.....often it's the quietest student who does this. I cherish their art because they take such pride in sharing it. No way am I able to throw it away. Each child's art reminds me that giving is such a joyful process.

I've learned that no matter how frustrated or tired I feel with a disruptive class, I will probably get an impromptu hug from one of them. In this day and age of being so careful around children, this act from a child startled me at first, but I've learned that they hug fast, and then they are on to something else that's caught their attention. They are quick to praise. Some, you quickly realize, are "buttering me up" with a quick hug or compliment. Most are just sincere "glad you are here" expressions. Many just miss their moms and dads a lot, and a hug comforts them.

It's easy to tell which child receives attention and guidance at home and those who do not. I wish all parents did this - if they just realize how very important their time is to the happy development of their child. The teachers play so many roles in a child's life and there aren't enough hours in their day to do a parent's role too . And that's one of the most important things I've learned.

Teachers, the majority of them, are amazing. It took me being in their ranks, for hours, or a day at time, to realize just how they are pulled in so many different directions......their own children and spouse, extended family members, students, parents of students, other teachers, school administration, district administration and the State, their union. That's not even taking into consideration paper grading, testing, after school activities, continuing education, and a pursuit of personal interests. I am sometimes exhausted after a few hours of staying ahead of 20 - 30 students. I am not sure I ever had the stamina to do what they do day after day.

So as Michigan teachers have completed a month of a new school year, I extend a hip hip hooray for all they do. Thank you for being dedicated to your students!


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Gelli Plate Printing Party Time...

My home studio was awash in paints and tools and papers for a Gelli™ Plate Printing Party. 

The results will end up in journals, canvas backgrounds, book covers, ATCs, greeting cards.
So many uses for the luscious results from some of my students using my stencil designs.
We had as much fun creating and making messes, as we did visiting.

What did we ever do without Gelli Printing Plates, acrylic paint, mark-making tools and stencils??!!! It's probably one of the most freeing, loosening up thing we can do before settling down to finalize a project....or maybe just get the ideas flowing for a new project. The only people I know who don't enjoy this, are those who care about their nail polish - gloves are always at the ready in my studio!!

Enjoy a super weekend - Fall is off to a GREAT start in Michigan!!


Thursday, August 13, 2015

6-year-old's Watercolors

We've enjoyed being with our 6-year old grandchild since the end of July. First she and her parents joined us for a long weekend Virginia Beach vacation. After that fun in the sun, Emmalee, Jim and I headed back to Michigan. Such adventures we've had since then.

We hosted an ice cream social for the children in the neighborhood so Emmalee could make new friends........parking in the driveway for children only. Since that day the noises around our home include laughing children, slamming doors, and training wheels squeaking on bicycles. We've heard a lot of "I'm hungry," "No one wants to play with me," Awwww, do I have to....(whatever)" and so on. There are hugs and kisses and "I love you" messages as well. WHAT FUN!

Emmalee enjoys art so much and really likes my "art room," so I thought it would be fun to invite a couple of the neighborhood girls for an artsy party. I also invited 2 of my friends and one friend's daughter.

I traced Donna Downey's Good Luck Elephant stencil (half of the elephant) onto canvas boards, gave Emmalee watercolors and she completed two of them. Later she said she wanted the black pen that I used to outline my elephant sample!! I hadn't even mentioned that to her, but "Miss Observant" sure noticed it. She likes to watercolor and color and does an amazing job for a 6-yr. old. No scribbling appears in her writing and drawing work. (Yes, I'm a proud "Grandi," as she calls me, but she really is good.)

I thought it would be fun to share some of her work here as I boast a bit about her. I gave my sample  the little girl who went home early from the artsy party.



Today at the park with Miss Emmalee

Friday, July 24, 2015

Summer Play Days

The older I get the more I appreciate play days....packing in as many things as I can, usually in my studio. The messier, smellier projects can go outside.  I can enjoy nature, and my backyard is a lovely mixture of animals, birds and beautiful flowers, planted by my husband. Blessed......yes, I am blessed.

One of the messier projects I love doing is making papers to be used in collage work on canvas, cards, or ATCs. Yesterday I almost used up my supplies of Citrasolv™ and old National Geographic magazines. The results are always amazing as you can see here.

Sometimes I draw on them with a marker or pen, picking out areas that may look like an animal, plant, or some interesting abstract design. Otherwise I tear them up to be used as backgrounds in mixed media projects. One use I haven't done yet is to just use the pages as collage art on its own. Cathy Taylor is the master of that art form!

The next mess, which wasn't really too messy was pouring resin. I wanted a clean, level area,  and no breeze so I stayed inside in my studio. My friend Grace and I created the works shown here, then I used up the leftover to coat a canvas board.

Coating the canvas worked very well considering the base had dimensional paste, acrylic paint, markers, and a little watercolor. Looks like resin will be back on my shopping list!

One of the resin projects is for my 6 yr. old granddaughter who is coming to stay with us for about 2 weeks...the googly-eyed bracelet shown below. It is so cute -- now I have lots of idea for making more bracelets with this mold.

If you haven't done it yet, schedule a playday with yourself and/or a friend or two. Summer will be gone before we know it and if you're like me, you'll limit your winter outside time. So, Go Play!!!


by Grace

Friday, July 10, 2015

Lettering Love on Canvas

Perhaps I should be creating and playing with my own lettering (and I have), but I enjoy this stencil (Alpha Doodles) by Joanne Sharpe and I decided to just play! Here are the playtime details:

The canvas on the left was covered with black Gesso.  I then laid the stencil down on top of the dried canvas and carefully applied DreamWeaver brand white Dimensional Embossing Paste. When that dried, I placed the stencil over the raised lettering and applied Winsor&Newton Galeria Iridescent Medium, which gives a bit of a glittery look to the letters.

The second experiment was taking a canvas that I had collaged awhile ago with various papers. This canvas is still giving me fits 'cause I'm not sure I like it. After brayering with white gesso to mute the collage colors, I covered the canvas with a yellow glaze. Then I placed the stencil on the canvas and covered it with the white dimensional embossing paste, making sure that I had a even coat of paste. After that dried, I placed the stencil on top of the raised lettering and coated the stencil (and letters) with red acrylic paint. I still didn't like it but didn't want to totally darken or lighten the background. I then I painted around each letter with a Payne's Grey Carand'Ache Neocolor II crayon. I'm liking it better but now I think I may block out more of the background (still pondering this idea).

The one on the right is my favorite and it was so simple. The canvas is coated with Iridescent Medium, the stencil placed on the canvas, and this time I used black Dimensional Embossing Paste. I went back and touched up the letters with a pointed tool to remove some black that ran together. This canvas background almost glows!

I enjoyed my play time. Dimensional Embossing Paste is one of my all-time favorite products and the Iridescent Medium gives just enough of a lovely glow.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Women's Bible Journaling Slideshow

Women's Bible Journaling at St. John Lutheran Church

This slideshow shows the journaling work done by the St. John Lutheran Church, Rochester, MI Women's Bible Journaling group. As you can tell, notebooks are just as appropriate for artistic journaling as is our Bible! We are in the WORD!  Participants included here include Denise, Julie, Laureen, Julie, Sandi, Valerie, Laura, and Sue.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Journaling from Sermon Notes

SERMON NOTES - journaling samples

Are you Journaling?
Bible Journaling?
  What a joy it is to share writing, 
researching, and art techniques
with my study of the Bible!!
    What is Bible Journaling? It's a way of studying the Bible, and expressing what you want through your own words, sketches, stenciling, images, painting, stamping etc. You are adding your thoughts and research notes to the Bible margins, or a notebook. There are several different Bibles that are made with wide margins for note-taking.

    When we first begin Bible journaling, so many of us don't know where to start. Do we begin with a word, a favorite Bible verse, a search for help in a crisis, an expression of thankful praise? Are we SUPPOSED to actually write in our Bibles??!! There's no specific answer - each person approaches journaling in a different way - some boldly, some timidly - some in their Bibles, some in notebooks.  We must remember that ANY time we spend in the Word is time well spent.  Journaling is such a joy - no experience required.

    When I began, my first idea was to go by a theme such as faith, prayer, heaven, etc. and I do that occasionally -- researching, then writing. Now, I've determined that the most natural place to start is with each Sunday's Sermon at my church. The Pastors spend the research and time to bring us a message inspired by God. Shouldn't I take that home and ponder it over the coming week? I wasn't doing that. I was doing a disservice to God and my Pastors. I started taking notes, (fortunately we also have video/audio opportunities of that week's message available to us the next day) doing my own research, and writing my thoughts.

    When we began the Women's Bible Journaling group at St. John Lutheran Church, we began with the study of Jonah, rather than the sermons. It was kind of a "test" study group to see what developed. Jonah is such a rich book to much in those few pages - - my notes and embellishments started to fill up that section of my Bible. I was so nervous to begin this Bible class but I had a wonderful group and co-leader.
The ability to discuss the studies together, i.e. what verses were especially meaningful to each of us and why - is such a special way to create a bond with the others. We bring new insight to each other's studies. Once our discussion ends, I demonstrate a new art technique or two for the remainder of our 3-hour time together, sharing, talking and creating - all of us in THE WORD!

    So many benefits: Our Pastors have really interesting sermon series......I have new sisters in Christ, I get to teach, AND I get to combine that with the art that I love doing. If you want to do something like this with your friends or in a group, let me know if I can help in any way. If you are in the area of Rochester, Michigan (even just visiting), you are welcome to join us, even if it's just for one session. We'll begin again in October - usually the 3rd Saturday of each month.


St. John Lutheran Church audio or video sermons

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Party cake

This was a fun cake I made for a neighborhood kids' party that was supposed to be today.....including a little parade of strollers, bikes, wagons, etc. Michigan's cold, rainy weather caused the party to be cancelled, so the cake will go to a baptism party tomorrow. 

I am eager to see if the inside is red, white and  blue, which is what the recipe showed. you think I can wait until tomorrow to cut a sliver out so I can peek? :)

Happy 4th of July!! Looks like Michigan has been celebrating since last Monday!


UPDATE: Thanks to the beautiful (NOT) weather on Saturday, the party for the neighborhood children was cancelled, so I cut the cake today and shared it with a couple of neighbors and my 92 yr. old mother-in-law. It IS cool how it came out, and my granddaughter wants to make one with me in green, blue and white. That will probably be a project when she visits in August. Maybe I'll try it with cupcakes.

This was from a boxed super moist Betty Crocker cake mix and Fluffy White Frosting, which I dyed.
If you want the recipe, let me know

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mini Album Pileup

Do you ever get on a kick where you finally get those mono printed and stenciled and collages papers into some semblance of order?

I tend to make a batch of notecards or mini albums to give away or use myself.

The smaller sizes lend themselves to all those beautiful scraps hanging out in your work area!

If I have card blanks handy, I can embellish at least 10 of them in less than an hour, just with scraps. 

Have fun with the leftovers around your creative spot!

Hope your Memorial Day weekend was restful.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Artiscape 2015

Here are some additional photos from my first experience at Artscape Retreat 2015. This was a really nice event --   I'd definitely participate again. 

The first photo is "Bird on a Box" designed by the generous Joe Rotella of CreateNCraft. His kits are so organized and he takes care of all the little details that we might overlook. (for example: filing the dowels so there would be a flat side to attach to the bird!) I just finished all 3 birds but haven't photographed them yet. They are really darling.
My next class was in Encaustics led by Shari Replogle  - I've done some of this before on book covers but never anything this large. We created 12" x 12" boards layering beeswax and fusing while
also embedding treasures in the wax. I decided (last minute) to create a board in honor of my mom who was so talented with a needle - beautiful garments and needlework. I have the perfect photo to in this but I put another "model" - unknown to me. We'll see how I can incorporate my mom's photo.
This was also an interesting class except that we had to be careful we didn't blow the hotel's fuses because of heat guns and electric griddles!! Gotta melt that wax and not let it get cold. A previous class blew the fuses!

The other photos here are works in progress by classmates. I loved adding wax with color and heating can make it swirl around in the wax.

I highly recommend Artscape Artist Gathering! Maybe I'll meet you there next year!!