Thursday, October 11, 2018

Coasters of Historic Buildings Created for Rochester, MI Pharmacy

I am proud to be creating this series of coasters for Rochester, Michigan's Lytle Pharmacy, using artist Karen Howell's watercolors. The buildings - Lytle Pharmacy (former Opera House) and the original Home Bakery are the first duo. Get yours while they are available.

Lytle Pharmacy on FaceBook

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Visual Faith - Metro Detroit begins October 20

3rd Saturdays 1:00-4:00 PM St. John Lutheran Church, Rochester, Michigan

Let’s Linger Longer in His Word by using Bibles and notebooks and a few art supplies. Each session will include devotion and one or two fun projects. No art experience is necessary. Bring a notebook, pen, pencil, colored pencils, small scissors, good eraser, small ruler, and your Bible for journaling (we will have extra supplies). Bring along a friend or two as well! RSVP is important, in case locations change, plus we want to prepare materials for you. Contact Candice Schwark at You may join a session at any time. Starts October 20. 

Looking forward to this time together!


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Teardrop Memorial - did you know?

Please click on the images to read about this amazing memorial. Did you know about it? Hopefully, I will see it someday!

 The Teardrop Memorial in Bayonne, New Jersey, was the work of Russian artist Zurab Tsereteli, who officially named it “To the Struggle Against World Terrorism.” Jersey Journal file photo

May we never forget!


Monday, September 10, 2018

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

What a busy summer this has been!!! I'm so thankful I have the time and energy to follow my interests, and check-off bucket-list items.

One adventure was going to the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in northern Michigan. I had hoped to see a star-filled dark sky but the clouds moved in, so that didn't work. I DID enjoy the experience because it's such a peaceful place where everyone speaks quietly. I was there for about 5 hours and enjoyed every minute except when gnats would occasionally pester me. I will return to this special place. Go check it out!

Next on my list was a visit to North Carolina to spend a night at girl scout camp with my 9-year old granddaughter, who had already been to this camp twice! The weekend sure brought back memories of my scouting/camping times. Even the food was good! I put a lot of miles on these old legs, up and down hills through the woods. We participated in swimming, archery, campfire with songs and s'mores. Who can beat that? The hot temperature didn't bring out bugs, thank goodness. There was one exception - the locusts!! Oh my that was NOT a sleep-inducing sound!

A couple of weeks later, Emmalee came to Michigan for a couple of weeks so we added more adventures - ice cream social for the neighborhood kids so everyone could get reacquainted, then the kids disappeared. Emmalee was so disappointed. There are at least 15 children in our neighborhood, and they all seemed to go on vacation the first week Emmalee was here! So, she and I visited the Detroit Zoo, SeaLife Aquarium and LegoLand, plus we made numerous trips to Stoney Creek MetroPark - what a treasure that park is!

Besides being brave and going down the 50 ft. slide at Stoney Creek TWICE, Emmalee absolutely loved going to their beach-side playscape, which is one of the nicest ones I've ever seen. All the kids "played nice" with each other, even though they were all strangers.

Perhaps the highlight of our time together was staying up very late and going to the Stoney Creek Nature Center for their campfire evening during the Perseid Meteor Showers. We created sky wheels which showed us what stars were in the sky on a time and month, roasted marshmallows then went to an open area to lay down and watch the sky! The guide also told us about a really cool app, which I downloaded - Sky View Lite. Check it out especially if you have children. (I have no affiliation with the app creator.) We saw a couple of meteors, planets, and heard stories about the constellations. When Emmalee spotted a meteor, she felt very emotional about it because she said it was so wonderful. I knew exactly what she meant!

Emmalee returned to North Carolina and I added another item to my summer list by visiting The Ark Encounter in Willisamstown, KY.  When I got off the shuttle bus, I had to sit and stare in awe at this amazingly huge structure. I thought about how people laughed at Noah and how strong Noah's faith was. I enjoyed the whole experience at a leisurely pace.

If you've read this far, thank you, friend. It's been a good summer!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Hedgehogs and Tiles Available at Wild Birds Unlimited

I am so pleased that Wild Birds Unlimited in Rochester Hills is carrying two of the items I make. The book-page folded Hedgehogs with antique buttons, glasses and ribbons are available with or without glasses. Special decked-out hedgehogs may be ordered with ribbon color of choice. They are looking for a new home. The samples shown here already have new homes. One set holds cards at Christmas. Others hold photos, recipe cards, prayer cards, messages
. Some of them  just  want to hold their owner's reading glasses for safe-keeping.

The tiles I create are heat and water resistant. Each signed tile may be displayed on an easel or used as a coaster, or may be mounted. The image on each tile is created by me, then photographed. The tiles depict  my artwork, such as sketches with watercolors, collages, photography, etc.) Some may have original work created with alcohol inks or acrylic pours directly on the tiles. Each is unique, and each may be customized with your own photo in a square format.

I'm delighted that my work is available at Wild Birds Unlimited in Rochester Hills!

Blessings ...


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Stoney Creek Metro Park at Sunset

I've lived in this area of Michigan for almost 40 years and have never been to this beautiful beach called Stoney Creek. I'ts only 8 minutes or so from my home!

This year I bought a season pass so that I can take my granddaughter there during her August visit - she will be ecstatic when she sees the playground. I don't think she's ever visited a playground she didn't love!
I enjoy the scenery, the lake, the people-watching and tonight the beautiful sunset.

A friend of mine has been taking wonderful sunset photos there. She's been encouraging me to go there so I did. WOW....peaceful and beautiful. So, 104 photographs later I was lucky enough to catch added details -- not just the sunset .....a canoe with fisherman, a paddle boarder and a boat. I think a duck even floated by in one of the images.

THEN, I caught the silhouette of a couple walking through the grass and one image catches them on each side of the sunset cast on the water. Another couple sat down on a bench. So, I moved behind them (at some distance) to catch them in silhouette, AND THEN, they kissed!! They didn't even notice me - honest!

So,  thank you, Kathryn, for bugging me to go check it out. If any of you are near Stoney Creek Metro Park in Michigan.....go visit it!! It's not all dolled-up with flowers and modern things to do but its natural landscape seems to draw lots of people. They were walking, riding bikes, and running along the numerous paths in and out of the woods! I did not join them :) NOR will you ever catch me racing to see a sunrise :)

Blessings .....

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Visual Faith Academic Enrichment for Middle-Schoolers

 I have been teaching a Visual Faith Academic Enrichment program for middle-schoolers since April. This is a 9-week/twice-a-week/40 minute- sessions course.

It's been an interesting few weeks. The whole class  - 24 of them - is following along and completing the projects. Since most of them signed up for this, I know they're interested.....maybe those who "ended up" in the class will decide that maybe God put them there for a reason ;)

We made notebook covers for composition notebooks so that they would have a place to journal and keep "tests" of projects/tools I share with them. I don't believe any of them have journaling Bibles, and the ones they have are for daily school use, so their journaling for now will be in notebooks.

We also made paper bag "gratitude"journals. I asked them to write down 2 things every day that they are thankful for.....and praise God for them. I made a card for the front that says "Hey, God....." and on the inside cover, they can write or stamp "thank you for....." The paper bag booklet has pockets for more personal writing, if they like. They attached  lined paper to each page to write their thanks on. We added scrapbook paper to the front and back of the booklet. We've played with Gelatos™, water color pencils, stencils, lettering, etc. This week we'll do another tip-in and  the tissue technique. 

When they come into the classroom, I usually have a contemporary worship song playing, based on the theme of that month (courage, truth, strength). They are supposed to get their place card with their name on it and write a couple of things they need prayers about, and to pray for them while they doodle around those thoughts f)

The place card is a copy of two prayer cards printed together and folded in half. I added their name on the front, and handed them out the first time we met. I asked them to keep the prayer card on the back blank. This past week I asked them to direct the back card to one person in their life they'd like to pray about the rest of the days we meet. I will leave it up to them if they want to sign them.

They would write on the back of the card: Dear._______,
I have been praying for you. 
On the front they will put specific things they prayed about, then color/doodle around them as they pray those thoughts.
They will separate the cards in June and give/mail the card to the person they prayed for. The other card may be placed in their Bible or notebook. i

Layout draft.
This class isn't all about projects, art tools and art....I found a series of books* that works really well as a devotion time for the group. The topics (mentioned above) with appropriate scripture and the stories in the books help us create visual expressions of them...helping us to remember. For example a sextant was used to save a lost crew and ship and that story had another story relating how a woman used The Word as her sextant in her marriage.

I am learning along with the students and the art teacher who is gathering ideas to carry on in her classes. After talking with the students, I set up a Visual Faith Youth Community for them (and other youth) on FaceBook. Hopefully, they will share with each other. I will monitor it and parents may join for their children. If you know of a parent/child(12-18) wants to join the FaceBook group, make a request at

Our God is our creator and He gave each of us the abilities to create in various ways.....I am so thankful to be able to do this teaching to His glory.

Feel free to contact me with any questions on how you'd like to create a series of classes for youth.

* Character Stories for Families by Barbara Rainey at FamilyLife at


Monday, April 23, 2018

Noonan Family Support

I met this his lovely couple through our church, St. John Lutheran Church & School in Rochester Hill, MI. Trevor is the Modern Praise Director. He was also so helpful in handling the technology and music for our "Lingering Longer in His Word" Bible Journaling retreat last year.

I can't even imagine how difficult the days ahead might be for them. Please, if nothing else, support this young family in prayer. I thank you on their behalf for prayers and donations!

Thank you!



Tuesday, March 20, 2018

This past Saturday may have been St. Patrick's Day but it was also Visual Faith Community - Metro Detroit day! 

We did have delicious soda bread, thanks to member Konni, as our homage to the Irish event

We spent a couple of hours discussing Psalms 42, 43 and 73 (Hope When Life Seems Unfair and Finding Hope when Downcast). These chapters are from the book "Discovering Hope in the Psalms." Our discussions are the highlight of the afternoon for me, as we all get to know each other, and linger in the Word longer. Some of our members have been together for a couple of years and we welcome new participants frequently.

Our long-distance member Karen dials in from Texas via FaceTime video to participate in the afternoon discussions. If she has the materials, she also does the projects along with us.
This time we collaged wooden eggs for Easter with small image designed table napkins, using school glue or matte medium for the collage adhesive. Then, thanks to Marie Schwartz's extensive bead collection and contributions from Konni, we were each able to make one 23rd Psalm bracelet. Mine is for my granddaughter but shhhh...I think I'm make 2 more for my daughter and me. 

We look forward to our April time together as we continue with Psalm 71, Chapter 7 in the "Discovering Hope in the Psalms" book. Authors Pam Farrel, Jean E. Jones, Karla Dornacher (also illustrator) have truly created an interesting "creative Bible study experience." 

We recommend using this book for a group, or even individual, study. There are resources associated with the book on the website of the same name.

Feel free to join us anytime! Watch for notices here about the next get together.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Monoprinting Play at the OPC

I spent this afternoon with students at the OPC Senior Center in Rochester, MI. We enjoyed getting creatively messy with acrylic paint. I showed them how to monoprint from plates I've purchased over the years, and new ones I made myself (gelatin and glycerin)  Somehow I was the only one who forgot to put gloves on, so guess who won the award (if I were giving them out) for being the messiest of all???!!!! How in the world did I do that? :)
Anyway, they learned how to create prints, using various tools - stencils, mesh, stamps, string, rubber bands, bubble wrap, etc. They seemed to fall in love with the process. After about 90 minutes, I asked them to pick a stencil or a mask they could trace. They also chose several of their favorite prints. After making their choices, they traced their design choice on the back of a favorite monoprint, then cut it out to reveal a unique image for card fronts or scrapbooking. Each made at least one card. 

We then moved on to the remaining papers which we trimmed to about 4" x 6". White card stock, trimmed just slightly larger, was covered with monoprints for the covers. They added colorful string to holes punched into the papers and covers, resulting in a little booklet. The booklet is now easily taken apart so they may choose a page to make additional cards, a mini album. Some might keep it, as is, to use as a journal.

They were terrific in helping me clean up at the end of the afternoon, as they eagerly talked about doing it all again one of these days.

If you are in the Rochester, Michigan area, you must check out the OPC - it's a pretty amazing Center!


Monday, January 29, 2018

Acrylic Pours on a Sunday night

I have been telling myself that I would not start doing acrylic pours because I tend to let techniques take me over, and then I don't get other things done! Believe me, acrylic pours can be addictive!!

Since I was "playing," I used Elmer's glue (rather than a pouring medium), various acrylic paints I had on hand, and a bit of silicone and water. Cells (the circle shapes) appeared whether I use the silicone or not. My intent on the red and black one was to really limit my color selection. 

It's a great way to use up acrylic paints that need to be recycled out before they are too old. There are some ideas I might want to try in the future, but I think I will do a bit of work with these. I will probably add a text transfer to at least one of them.

For now I will let them dry for 48 hours and try out some other ideas I have in mind at a later date.

stay tuned.


Monday, January 22, 2018

Discovering Hope in the Psalms

Our Visual Faith Community - Metro Detroit met this past weekend for our once-a-month study. For the next 4 mounts we will be using the book "Discovering Hope in the Psalms" as our guide. We review 2 chapters each month, then complete a couple of projects. The images below depict the projects we did this month.

The first project was to take the word HOPE and then do "beams" out from it with the Psalm number and the Chapter title. We added color to it with watercolor, colored pencils or Gelatos®....doing our own thing. Each month we will add short notes next to the title of the chapter we are studying. 

The second project was done in notebooks or Bible. Using a trumpet sketch or trace, participants added music notes and the words, "The King is coming (or Jesus is coming). What was wrong will be made right." as if they are coming out of the trumpet. We used Micron® pens, gold leaf pens, colored pencils or Gelatos® to embellish.

The image below shows an example in the Bible margin as well as a technique I designed awhile ago using a #10 envelope. 

Seal the envelope and cut it in half lengthwise, then trim the closed edges of each piece so that it is open on the long sides. Embellish as you like, then slip it over the page of your Bible which the design references. You can do the back of the envelope wrap when you are studying the page that it covers. These can also be used as bookmarks if they don't fit over your page. No worry about "bleed-through" of art materials when you are working on these flaps.

Questions? Let me know. You are welcome to join us, please contact me so that I can give you the details and have materials ready for you. We meet next on Saturday, Feb. 17 from 1- 4 pm