Saturday, December 10, 2016

"Embellishing" our Home for Christmas

Well, here we are into December and I'm already overwhelmed, and wondering why I do this to myself every year! I truly enjoy Christmas and the activities before and after but I seem to add more and more deadlines on myself! So, I am trying to "Be Still" and listen to the meaning behind Advent and take time to ponder it all.

As I decorated our house in my usual "overdoing it" method, I really tried hard to consider each piece and its meaning for Christmas. This made the decorating so much more meaningful. The fancy nativity scene that has been a part of my our life for a long time, took up its special spot in our living room. The kings and Jesus shouldn't be there yet, but they remind me of the whole story of Christmas.

There are angels on the mantel - they are such a huge part of the story. From the time that the angel appeared to Mary to say she would give birth to God's son, to the announcement of his birth...angels were there and so they are represented in my home. Some have wings that move, some have music boxes, some are still, some look like they are flying.

The Christmas tree in this room is my favorite. Filled with mostly gold ornaments, white lights, music symbols and an angel in needlework that my mother made many years ago. The music symbols remind me of the sound of the angels singing praises to the newborn king....the sounds we will hear in heaven....the sounds that we hear in churches on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day when our voices joined together sound like one.

This year's decorating was so much more meaningful as I really tried hard to concentrate on the meaning of this season for me and my family.

Even though you will also find a collection of Santas, nutcrackers, dolls and animated carolers throughout our home, and colorful lights on the front of the house, this time of year means so much more to us. In the middle of the lights you will find a lighted nativity scene as we center our celebration on the birth of Jesus, God's gift to us.

May this season bring you peace and joy. I wish my fellow Christians a wonderful Christmas! May everyone reading this have an incredible 2017!


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Graffiti in Detroit

I have always enjoyed seeing Graffiti even though the nasty language is way more than I want to see!! This slideshow of images is from a recent trip to downtown Detroit. I have NO idea what any of it means, so if anyone thinks I should take it down, let me know. I've admired graffiti in Italy, Argentina, tunnels and bridges across the U.S.A. and the walls of Detroit.

I just wonder about those who created the graffiti....are they frustrated artists? I imagine they are irritated with their own lives ...could the graffiti represent their voices shouting loud?   Do the locations have a special meaning or are they just convenient with no one to stop them?

It's baffling how some graffiti appears in precarious locations....did they climb there by themselves or was a team of people involved? So many questions behind these expressions.

Wonder what a convention of graffiti artists would look like? We probably stereotype these people as street "urchins." Wouldn't it be funny to show up at a convention and find out that they are "suits" - college professors, business people, high school coaches? Or maybe they are "starving artists" yearning to be seen! Sadly, I realize that many of them are probably parts of gangs, their so-called "family." The graffiti may have just been done on a dare. I sure wish my handling of a spray can of paint was as good as some of these people!

Destruction of property isn't  cool but I still enjoy seeing the layouts of the painted walls and saying a silent "good job" to many of these creations!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Eco-Printing Addiction

I call it "cooking leaves" but it's officially Eco-Printing. Mine is done with heavy weight watercolor paper but it can also be done on fabric. 
Paper is my first love in the art world, so that's my choice for this technique of sandwiching materials such as leaves, twigs, rusty nails, etc. and steaming the package of goodies for 2 hours.

I have a really nice two-tiered vegetable steamer - it's now my tool of choice for steaming the paper.....vegetables will get steamed in the microwave now. My steamer is not too large but it's perfect for me for now. I enjoy making mini-albums, cards, postcards, and small works on canvas so I'm happy staying small.

There are lots of techniques on YouTube for doing this and wonderful artists who teach. and create beautiful prints, such as Jacqueline Sullivan, Trish McKinney. Check them out.

It's very difficult for me to walk past my steamer and not get something "cookin'"!! I even have leaves and bits of flowers in my freezer to get me through the winter. My 7-year-old granddaughter was enlisted by me to collect materials from her yard in North Carolina and a friend fulfilled my request for magnolia leaves. I'm using them in another project but one or two will end up in the steamer.
The reveal of each paper is intriguing and I've re-steamed them with other materials if I didn't like the first one.
Give it a try and post what you've done! Now I need to put more of my finished ones to good use.

Happy steaming!


Thursday, November 24, 2016





Saturday, September 17, 2016

Special Event for Nine of Us

Nine women from around the county joined together for Bible Journaling at The Cheese Lady, as a kickoff to the study I lead at St. John Lutheran Church in Rochester, MI. The study (every 3rd Saturday) is open to anyone who wants to attend. We alternate locations...usually between church and my home studio. The Cheese Lady put together a nice tasting board of foods mentioned in the Bible such as dates, figs, almonds, honey, and cheeses from goat, cow and sheep. (We added some dark chocolate "just because.")

Each received a list of Bible verses mentioning these foods. We also shared Matzo crackers and fresh Challah bread with an explanation of the symbolism of the Challah bread to the Jewish people.

Our devotion focused on "Feed Our Faith" so we can follow Jesus call to "Feed My Sheep" based on John 21:15. We also had a quiet time devotion following along to the written lyrics and listening to the hymn "Feed My Sheep"

Our artsy time included using colored pencils with pre-drawn graphics to be attached to our Bible pages or traced in. We also added ribbon to paperclips for bookmarks.  

I truly enjoyed our time together and getting to know these sisters in Christ. Let me know if you'd like to join us in October.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Praise in the Park

The rain went stayed away, the volunteers set everything up, the people arrived and a beautiful event was underway last Sunday.

Annually, St. John Lutheran Church here in Rochester, MI hosts a community event in the local park. There were more than 1,000 participants this year! What a glorious (but humid!) day. 

The service is delivered from the pavilion, as guests sit comfortably in chairs or on blankets on the hillside.  Since our church has 5 services, this is an opportunity to see some of the friends we miss on a Sunday....For example I DO NOT do early morning very well, so it was nice to see the 8 o'clockers!! <grin> With wonderful music filling the air, a tribute to our cherished veterans and first responders, the whole experience of worship and fellowship was moving and exciting. 

There were a lot of opportunities to stick around after the service - free picnic lunch of hamburgers, hotdogs, bratwurst and salads, popcorn and ice cream! Vintage vehicles were on display as were decorated bicycles. The children brought their bikes so they could participate in the annual parade and perhaps win a prize. This year the cyclists seem to be all decked out as much as their bikes!

A wide variety of activities were offered  -- face painting, balloon sculptures, photo booth,family games, and health/wellness information.

This year a new tent was available to artists to display their work. This included a display of Bible Journaling materials and a hands-on opportunity to complete bookmarks which were examples of how to Bible journal. Watercolors or pencils and crayons were used. Praying in Color materials were explained distributed, as well.

One of the highlights of the day was the stack of shoes in the worship area. Participants brought shoes for St. John's mission partner - Gifts for All God's Children. All loose change offerings also went to their work in Southeast Michigan.(Sorry, my photo didn't turn out well.)

With donations from local businesses and individuals and the contributions of time and talent of volunteers and staff, this event is a meaningful, joyous community event. 

Pastor's message recorded at Praise in the Park is at this link. - Praise in the Park Hope to see you there next year!


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Learning to Linger Longer in the Word

Family Christian Stores hosted Bible Journaling events at their stores at the same time, same day nationwide - yesterday, July 23rd. I led the one at the Troy, Michigan store, which had the maximum number of participants. Store manager Tracey had everything organized so well for the hour and a half session.

Only one regret - I didn't take photos!! Participants came from various Metro Detroit locations, not just Troy.

Their enthusiasm for a new way to study the Word was evident. Some had been immersed in Bible Journaling for awhile, others were eager to learn about products and techniques for expanding their study.

DaySpring's Illustrated Faith materials were used and included diecut embellishments with Scripture prompts on the back. Everyone was introduced to their washi tape, stickers, pens, etc. A workbook with practice pages was also many interesting things to share and use. Illustrated Faith's Founder is Shanna Noel, and the resources available from their product line  are helpful and unique, especially when we get stuck and just don't know how to express something in our journaling, or we just don't know where to start.

We talked about studying the context of a word or verse, then journaling about what spoke to them in that reading. The journaling could be done in their Bible or a separate notebook by writing out a verse or word and making notes about applying it to his/her life. It could be embellished artistically through pictures and/or words via pens, paints, stencils, stickers, etc.

Emphasis is not on perfection, but on spending time in the Word in a way that lets us linger longer.

At the end each participant eagerly searched out journaling resources in the store, and talked of how to carry this on in their own church. Several us will be meeting again in September.

Congratulations to Chelsea, a new bride. She was the recipient of a new journaling Bible given to one participant at the event.



Thursday, July 21, 2016

Saturday, July 23 Bible Journaling Event

Join me this Saturday at the Bible Journaling Event hosted by Troy Family Christian store. Call right now to reserve your space!
10-11:30 am

(248) 658-6281

See you there!



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Artiscape 2016 Memories

Enjoyed teaching a class at Artiscape this year with creative students!! I also was delighted to be a class participant of workshops by Gaye Medbury, Trish McKinney and Lisa Ohmer. The weekend was filled with just enough events and shopping! It also had enough time for rest, at least for the students. Be sure to sign up next year.

These artist gatherings are always a wonderful way to make new friends, catch up with old ones, and share experiences and creative tips. No matter how much I think I may know about something, I am certain I will learn at least one new thing in a workshop!! Experiencing different teaching styles is a plus!! My 30+ years of teaching definitely makes me interested in the process of other teachers.

As I prepare for eye surgery on Wednesday, and try to get everything in my life organized before then, I wish each of you a wonderful Spring, filled with color and light and creativity!! My next 2 weeks may limit my studio time.


p.s. Some the work of my students are shown here. Notice the creativity of the sneaker - the pasted image tore, so she created her own shoe!! I displayed examples of my work (photo above). I used  various methods with Dreamweaver Embossing Paste (

The last image is of my friend Grace(right) and me. We decorated hats in the Steampunk theme and wore them a couple of times during the weekend! We received a lot of nice comments about them.

I ended the conference by joining another Artiscape instructor Cynthia Duncan  onstage with the after-dinner entertainers "#hashtag" - a Columbus improv group. I had sooooo much fun and couldn't believe that I wasn't nervous delivering my lines. I laughed so hard I cried, and almost couldn't deliver my lines....hmmm...a new career?? LOL It was nice to hear the audience laughing hard too!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Artiscape - An Artist's Gathering 2016 Workshops announced

If you have not attended Artiscape in Dublin, Ohio at the The Embassy Suites, let me give you strong encouragement to do so. It's one of the more popular artist events. The workshops and unique activities are so inspiring. Even with many attendees, it still feels intimate and friendly. This year's theme is Masquerade in Venice.

The BIG NEWS for me is that I am one of the 20 instructors chosen for this year's event!!  As many of you know, I really enjoy teaching.

This class is titled Steampunked Stiletto. Participants, intermediate to advanced, will embellish embossing paste with a Stampendous stamp, stencil, fabric, gears, brads, tape, watch parts, etc. for personalization. The finished canvas panel can be used to decorate a box, a journal cover or as home decor. The image here is a representation of what students might create and each person will complete two.

Artiscape sells out fast so register as soon as possible. In almost all of the classes the teacher provides everything, except the basic tool kit that we all tend to take to retreats and workshops.

Don't miss this event!! Masquerade in Venice dinner entertainment, Workshops, Kick-off Party, Marketplace, Mad Hatter Tea Party, Outsider Art Fair, Trading session, Artiscape friends.....this retreat has it all!!

I look forward to meeting you there.

Let me know if you have ANY questions!!




Friday, January 29, 2016


I've enjoyed dollhouses, miniature vignettes in unusual containers and miniature furniture, pictures, stuffed animals and so on for a long, long time. 

I'm not sure why that little world is so interesting to me. It's tedious to light a little room box or a dollhouse, or to make your own furniture. 

Yet, looking into that little room is such a delight and if I can put a train display with it, I'm thrilled.

My father didn't build a dollhouse for me when I was young, but he did for my daughter when she was about 5 1/2. She was shocked when she saw it. I couldn't believe that he brought in two sections from West Virginia to Michigan via plane and finished it before Christmas morning!  Appropriately, since his name was Jack, I had a plaque made that said "The House that Jack Built." My brother is in charge of that house now for one of his granddaughters. 

Later my dad built another smaller house that I wrangled away from him because he was going to sell it in a garage sale. It is now the "Bear House that Jack Built." It's such a joy to see my 6-yr. old granddaughter play with it, getting lost in the miniature world. I saw her interest in miniatures when I made her a couple of fairy gardens.

Usually when I'm working in that small world, I may change out the characters and the furnishings, but I don't change the wallpaper or floor covering. I seem to postpone that design decision So, a Christmas vignette that I made a number of years ago has had a delightful unfinished scene, as shown in the first photograph.
The walls needed some sort of covering, as did the floor. I could use dollhouse wallpaper but decided to use some paper I had on hand in Christmas colors to complete the theme. The scale of the paper would work. I measured several times for the walls. (Note that I put tape on my ruler that takes chalk - sure makes marking measurements easier.) 

I also had some molding I wanted to use for the upper part of the wall. The molding strip I had was a little bit thicker than 1/4. Unfortunately, I had to make-do with the one strip I had. It was easily
trimmed with scissors.
With my paper and molding strip trimmed, I ran them through the Xyron® Creatopia using the permanent adhesive cartridge. This machine, although no longer sold at Xyron,  is a workhorse. It takes 12" wide materials, can do decorative cuts, diecut, permanent and repositionable adhesive and laminate. I applied permanent adhesive to the paper AND the molding strip, which went through the machine with ease.

The "edge to edge" adhesive phrase used frequently by Xyron® spokesperson Beth Kingston has become a running joke in my house.  I think I embarrass my husband when we go out for breakfast because I order edge to edge butter on my English muffin! Needless to say, edge to edge adhesive AND butter are terrific!

Continuing with the details of the little room, I laminated the small picture then put it in a tiny frame so it looks like it has glass over it. The photo was from a miniature magazine. Although I've done my own tiny artwork in calligraphy and my mother used to do the tiny embroidery, I usually save very small photos like this to use on the miniature walls.

Continuing on with the room, I applied the "wallpaper." After applying the adhesive to the paper, it was easy to put the paper on the walls. I started at the top and pressed down toward the floor to smooth out the surface. I then when over it with an old credit card to make sure it was bubble free - no bubbles ever appeared. The molding strip applied as easily as the paper. Note that I put push pins into the molding for a few minutes to make sure it stayed in place but I discovered that it stuck firmly without extra help.

My little room is done except for the outside. It has lucite on one side and the top, and wood on the other 3 sides. Since it usually sits on a shelf, I will probably apply either a Christmas banner to the outside front edge or little shingles on the wood. The shingles also went through the Creatopia with ease!! Joy! Joy!

My only remaining project with this is the lighting. That is another post at another date with a really cool idea, so please check back.



Thursday, January 21, 2016


Yep - I think I'd call it a Tissue Tape explosion with the amount of interest people seem to have in making their own version of a "Washi" tape. I'm no exception. Ive been making then for awhile with scraps on my workshop table, strips of my monoprinted pages and  even my Citrasolv™-washed National Geographic® pages. I've used book text and my own writing also.

It's fun to make some to keep on hand, or to customize the tape with your current project's color scheme. Of course, having a few of the handy Xyron™ adhesive machines makes it even easier. I use repositionable adhesive on the strips I make to keep on hand. For targeted projects, I will use permanent adhesive.

Recently, the Women's Bible Journaling group I lead spent some time learning how to do it for themselves. They can embellish their Bibles or notebooks with tape borders or specific words relating to the current study. We used strips from deli paper we wrote on as well as decorative napkins after removing the backing.

I prefer keeping completed tapes on the adhesive backing sheet until I use them. Adhering them to the inside of file folders allows me to see my stash of tape. You better believe I have a basket of store-bought Washi tapes as well!

Tips: thinner papers may wrinkle when running them through the machines....hold the paper as taut as you can without tearing it while adhering the adhesive. When you remove the top plastic, do so carefully so you don't lift the tissu. Also, be careful when you peel the tissue off of the backing because it will tear easily or double back on itself!

Check out the YouTube demo by Beth Kingston at

Happy Taping!! :)