Friday, February 29, 2008

Busy in the Studio

Spring Fever has begun to sink in and take hold of me. There is so much to be done in the garden, yet the chill keeps me from wandering outside for any great length of time. So here I am, longing for warmer days when I can bask in the sun, wearing my favorite straw hat wrapped with a purple sherbert colored scarf around the brim, and bejeweled by a vintage pin on the front.

Although the weather is not cooperating, I keep busy by creating, painting, and making new art. My latest works show signs of my restlessness for the return of leafy green on the trees, songs wafting upon the breeze from little birds building their nests, along with various other small creatures scampering about, experiencing the newness of the landscape before them.

I did see a tiny chickadee on Wednesday, perched on the Christmas wreath still decorating the front door. He was pulling and tugging at a bit of raffia tied to the top. Unfortunately, I was off to lunch with a friend and did not have time nor camera to catch a picture of him... maybe next time. I will have to keep watch.

AND.. yesterday... there was a whole gang of robins, at least six or seven, gathered on the front porch picking berries left on the tree near the house...VERY EXCITING... INDEED.

I have been reorganizing my desk and the bulletin board in front of my computer with Spring time inspirations. Another sign that I am ready to leave Winter behind.

And it is time, for now, to set aside my beloved Winter Season Journal. When I started this new adventure I decided to add December's pages into Winter's book. So until then, I say goodbye to the familiar, and start fresh with the Spring Journal.

Although the journal will be reintroduced at the end of the year, I want to share a couple of pages with you before I tuck it away. However, I am putting the finishing touches on them. So, I promise to post pictures early next week.

There are also a few new originals in the shop for the beginning of March. These pieces hold tight to the lingering whispers of days to come, bright and sunny moments filled with renewed heart... renewed spirit.

And, returning to the shop are additional copies of several Fine Art Prints that sold in February.

Next week, I am off to the west coast to teach a private class for some INCREDIBLE ladies I met at Art and Soul last year. They promise to turn my visit into one big slumber party. I have my sock monkey PJ's and house slippers packed! It should be lots of FUN.

Definitely, a delightful way to extricate the thicket of Winter by surrounding myself with the light of friendship. Don't you think!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I feel QUITE lighthearted and happy when I think about the idea of travel. I truly enjoyed visiting different parts of the country last year, and dream about more upcoming adventures in the months ahead.

Although I love home, I also like seeing both the East and West Coasts because they are so different than the Plains of the Midwest. I am especially excited to be going east this year, making one trip to Virginia and the second to North Carolina.

Have you ever been to North Carolina? Unfortunately, I have only had two short whirlwind opportunities to drink in all the beauty of this region. However, I am excited to say that I will be returning, this time to visit an establishment nestled among the western mountains of this fair state. A place I have only had the chance to read about up to now.

I am so very honored to be coming to Random Arts in Historic Saluda this summer. Not only will I have the chance to see an incredible art store and meet it's endearing owner, Jane Powell, but I will also be having an art show and hosting two workshops during my visit.

The fun begins on Friday night, July 18th, Jane has kindly offered to have a showing of my latest fiber artworks at the store. I promise to have lovely treasures on hand, and will be bringing both Original Works, as well as Fine Art Prints to purchase.

Then on Saturday, July 19th, I will be teaching Painted Nature Fabrics. It is a workshop based on my journal art and feature article seen in the July '07 issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors. I can't wait to share the techniques I use to create these pieces!

And on Sunday, July 20th, workshop attendees will be making good use of all those snippets, bits, and/or scraps that we just can't bare to throw away but because they are too small to use. Turning our trash into a treasure by creating a fun and functional 3D Fiber Abode to hold some of our favorite photos.

Signups have started for both workshops, I just can't wait to meet everyone, so I hope you can join me at Random Arts for a weekend of FABULOUS, FUNFILLED moments!!!!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Confessions of a Chalk Lover

I have an OVERSIZED chalkboard in my kitchen. When I purchased this piece from Pottery Barn (one of my favorite stores), my lovely husband was kind enough to help me hang it on the wall.

Once it was up, all he said was.. "Tell me again why you bought a chalkboard?"

His words made me grin from ear to ear, and chuckle softly to myself. My reply was... "Well, it is great message center, to keep the refrigerator from looking cluttered."

That answer sounded logical, and he seemed to buy into this explanation. But the real truth of the matter was that it was a fun, funky piece of decor, where I could spontaneously make art, tack up an inspirational quote or two, and then have the option of doing something entirely different the very next day. A place where I could express my inner child... so to speak.

This chalkboard has seen A LOT of use over the last three years. I have welcomed guests, celebrated holidays and birthdays with heartfelt messages, posted pictures of family, friends, and pets, doodled pretty pictures, and jotted down many a quote and/or word of the day.

My sister even broke down and purchased the very same board for her own kitchen after my two teenage nieces came to visit and enjoyed playing with the chalk.

Although I contribute almost %99 of the content, everyone, who comes in contact with this piece of thin slate, seems to enjoy the weekly or sometimes daily information scribbled onto the black void.

Last year, I even started an art experiment, by snapping one photograph a day of the chalkboard, as sort of a record of our lives. Unfortunately, this project was short lived with only a little over a month's worth of images. However, I have been thinking about giving this idea another try.

I have come to realize that this "message center" has really been an outlet for me, a place I could share my feelings, in good and bad times, without having to verbally speak my mind. Who knew I would grow up to be a bonafide chalk lover!

Monday, February 18, 2008

This One Life

I love keeping issues of my favorite publications, but lately, the shelves where I store my collection are beginning to bow under the weight. So, it was time to make a little room, hopefully adverting a potentially hazardous situation.

In the middle of my cleaning endeavor, I ran across this issue of Memories. It was the first time my artwork had been shown in a magazine. I clearly remember the day it arrived in the post; my hands were trembling as I opened the cover. I cried when I saw my article.

I cried tears of happiness, tears of gratitude, and tears of disbelief. I had been almost afraid that being published would turn out to be some kind of dream.

But, here in my hands.... was a dream come true. It was quite a milestone for me with many more wonderful moments to come.
I could not help but re-reading my words printed on the glossy page. Emotions began to well up inside, as I remembered the difficult choice I had made, so many years ago, to abandon a ten-year career in the computer field to pursue my passion. I felt so brave as I embarked on this new chapter. I was daring to have a different life.

In the days ahead, I lived through agonizing moments with both family and friends suggesting, hinting, or implying that this decision was completely insane, and most certainly professional suicide. Reminding me that I was throwing away a college degree, a good salary, and hard earned years of tenure.

Although I realized their advice was well meaning, it was still not something I wanted to hear. What I wanted was for them to sympathize, and support me 100%, no questions asked. I knew how I felt as a computer analyst, like a round peg trying to fit into a square hole, and I could not understand how no one else seemed to recognize it.

Those years, of returning to school for an art degree, were some of the toughest times of my life. Not only was I taking as many classes I as could handle with endless amounts of homework to be done and constant tests to be taken, I was also working 30 hours as a graphic design intern. I had something to prove, not only to the world at large, but more importantly to myself. I worked harder than I ever had.

My feelings today are as strong about this decision, as they were back then. For me, this way of life is not just a hobby, or casual past time, it is part of everything I do. It is who I am, and who I was meant to be.

But I must admit that lately, I have been feeling a bit timid and scared. I am currently engaged in the very activity, that I have LONGED to do since I began this life altering change. I am actually pursuing my own art, and ALL its possibilities.

Yet, I worry about the "What Ifs".

Now looking back at this first published work, I am gently reminded by my own words about all the "What Ifs" of living this dream as an artist in the first place.

I believed in myself and had faith then, even when I did not have all the answers.

Deep in my heart, I want to continue pursuing this path, travel this road, and keep trying. And, I am certain that it is sure to fill my days with joy, a few detours, hopefully some incredible opportunities or lucky breaks, as well as disappointments.

Most of all, I know I am guaranteed a life... that was lived with passion.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Signups BEGIN!

Even if Valentine's Day has come and gone, the excitment continues as signups for Art Unraveled begin TODAY!

Marylin and I are thrilled to be attending this INCREDIBLE retreat for a second year. We will be hosting two classes to inspire the inner artist.

The first workshop is Painted Nature Portraits. As you might have guessed, I am QUITE enamored with nature, and can't wait to share my techniques for capturing delicate songbirds on fabric. And NEVER FEAR, no previous drawing experience is required to create a beautiful cherished portrait.

Our second workshop, Miscellany of Vintage Fiber Journal, will be a carefree day filled with nothing but fun, Fun, FUN! Like kids in a candy store, participants will be raiding our personal stash of vintage fabrics, and learning a fabulous bookbinding technique that will allow you to add an endless number of pages to your journal as often as you like and whenever you want.

We hope you will join us on Friday, August 8th and Sunday, August 10th. We would LOVE to spend the day with you!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

to my true love...

" holding our lives close to one another
with these two hearts lighting a sometimes uncertain path,
and this love, the steady compass, steering our course
in the calm and tempest of the world,
for i have found the greatest treasure in your eyes,
among the moments of our unending romance. "

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Flurry of Hearts...

I have long loved the tradition of Valentines. Some of my fondest memories from grade school came from celebrating this holiday. Moments filled with red and pink construction paper, Elmer’s glue, scissors, and white (or brown) paper lunch sacks decorated with hearts, dollies... X's and O's.

I adore giving and getting Valentine cards. I remember as a child lingering in the holiday aisle at the store, agonizing over which box of cards to buy. Then when I finally made my decision, I wanted my mother to rush me home, so I could fill each and everyone of them out, immediately.

I could hardly wait until the Valentine class party, so I could drop a heartfelt sentiment into every mail sack that was neatly taped to the chalk tray of the blackboard at the front of the room.

I loved taking my stuffed paper sack and sorting through the various cards from my classmates.

I was even surprised once in the second grade with a small box of conversation hearts and on the back was a small metal ring taped to it. This, from a boy that I was quite smitten with, and oh, how my heart leaped to know he was smitten with me too. This had to be true love, or so I thought. I wore that little ring forever, despite the fact, it always turned my finger green.

Alas, my adoration for this romantic holiday continues even today. I enjoy pondering and planning just how to best surprise the Valentine recipients in my life.
Like, constructing pocket bouquets for a couple of dear friends. Ladies with which I have a long standing traditional of sharing lunch and celebrating each holiday among ourselves with little gifts.

These pocket creations were inspired by some very lovely floral arrangements in the current issue of Victoria magazine. They were quiet easy and fun to make, so I even whipped up one for myself.

And I have several wonderful surprises for my sweetheart, like this incredible LOVE pillow I found. I just can't wait to use it over and over again.... leaving him poems and little notes that profess my affections tucked into the pocket .

I also purchased tickets to a Saxophone concert on the evening of 14th called "A Night of Romantic Sax". Such a charming name for the concert. The event is sponsored by a local college, and the performing musicians are trying to raise funds for a trip, so it is a bonus all the money will go to a good cause.

Finally, in honor of Valentines, I am offering only 9 copies of this Limited Edition Fine Art Print until March 15th. It is one of my favorite artworks from my 2007 fiber journal, and captures the spirit of romance so perfectly.

Each one is printed on glossy finish, professional grade paper using fade-resistant, archival inks. This special artwork comes surrounded by a 10" x 10" white double matte, signed, numbered, and sealed in a clear protective sleeve accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

A wonderful ode to love and nature, ready to inspire any heart!
Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Winter to Spring, winter's keeping

"this low light at end of day
the brilliant sky in fiery hues of gray
a cresent moon sings us to sleep
under the blanket of winter's keeping
mere reflections of noble simplicity
just a remembrance of life's sweet majesty"

Friday, February 01, 2008

A New Month

A new month begins..with thoughts of hearts and romance... Valentines is on the mind... a sweet little holiday to bring us out of our winter doldrums.

I, too, have a few new treasures to help chase away those blues!