Friday, April 1, 2016

I'm Still Here

Yes I realize it's been a year since I posted on my blog.  A busy year.  I might even say a hectic year.  Busy having fun if you really want to know.

Last year this time I was preparing to teach at Artiscape for the first time, and today I'm doing the very same thing.  I'll be teaching 3 classes again this year and during my free time we'll be easy to spot in downtown Columbus antique stores or those incredible book stores we discovered last year.  We left NC with the car filled to the brim and unloaded all those art kits, thinking we'd come home with a fairly empty SUV.  Alas, we came home with more in the car from those shopping excursions than we'd left with, leaving a tiny space in the stacks so I could see out my rearview mirror.

In June we traveled down to FL for Stampfest.  My classes there are always fun filled with lots of chatter and laughter, seeing old friends and meeting new ones.  I was one of 4 instructors for a mega workshop on Saturday night when we were all exhausted, but it didn't stop us from having too much fun.

Journals are still my favorite classes to teach because it gives me an excuse to keep buying paper ephemera in all those antique malls we visit from coast to coast.  For the third year in a row I spent 4 1/2 hours in an antique mall in Monterey CA, with 4 hours in one booth looking through thousands of old b&w photos.  It's a sickness!  But this year I'm teaching several classes using those very photographs, so I feel I've justified that extravagance.

And I'll be back in Cincinnati in August teaching 6 classes at my beloved Stampaway.  This was my first convention more than 20 years ago and every year I'm just as excited to work my way up and down the aisles with the rest of the crowd, searching for those rubber stamps and supplies I simply can't live without.

I'm on a roll now so expect me back with more photos.  Lots and lots of photos.  And news about my travels and classes and such.

Maybe even later today!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I'm Teaching at Artiscape Next Week

I'm pleased to tell you I'll be teaching at Artiscape next week in Ohio.  It's an unconventional "convention", unlike my usual venue, but I'm so excited to add it to my schedule.  There are 50 workshops offered over the course of 4 days, as well as an Artist's Marketplace and an Outsider Art Fair. 

Can't steal away for 4 days?  Not to worry because day-trippers are welcome to shop or attend a class or two.  There are 15 art supply vendors from across the country, plus artists selling their wares including jewelry, paper, book arts, glass, metal and so much more. 

The workshops cover so many topics from metal embossing to torch enameling, encaustics to stencils, watercolor to Zentangles, and of course a wide variety of journals will be made.  Why I'd be taking a class or two if I weren't on the schedule to teach.

My studio is a whirlwind of activity as kits are being prepared.  My collections of old ledgers, books of sheet music, foreign text books and such have been plundered for my Specimen Box Collage class.  There are teeny tiny puzzle pieces, buttons & lace, flashing tape, and so many things scattered here and there, awaiting their turn to be packed into baggies & boxes.

There are oversized sheets of cardstock in various weights and colors being trimmed to size for the Collage in Miniature class.  Inks and paints, stencils and applicators, are all being corralled and sorted.  Every drawer and bin has been scoured for ephemera. 

And rubber stamps!  Oh my, trying to choose between the thousands to see which lucky ones get packed have me in a tizzy.  I know which are my favorites, but how many more would have appeal to new students? 

I'm diving back in, but will surface tomorrow with more news, so please visit again.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Playing Catch Up: CA, CHA & Vacation

Time has raced by while I've been having fun, so this is the first of many posts you'll be seeing in the next few days.  Before I jump into anything else I thought I'd give Luke,  grandson #2, some face time...playing with big brother Jackson's Nabi Jr & the new headphones Mimi gave him for Christmas.  Only 2, but such a cutie patootie, right?

In January we spent 3 glorious weeks in CA, including a week in Anaheim to attend CHA, and a week in San Francisco, plus so many points in between.  This is a photo I took on the second floor of the Blackhawk Auto Museum in Danville, just outside San Francisco.  Wow.  Such a collection.

They had several cars in various shades of purple, but don't you love the interior of the last one?  Yowza!!  We took so many photos, but I won't bore you.  Visit their website and then go see it for yourself.

For the first time ever in all my years attending CHA, we stayed at the Anabella Hotel, within walking distance of the convention yet still on the shuttle route for those rainy days.  And yes, we had rain almost daily this year for our week in Anaheim. 

Such old world charm.  Fantastic, friendly staff, suites with hardwood floors...what's not to love?

Mind you, our suite wasn't this neat except when we first entered it.  That extra room with the day bed held all of our luggage.  We always plan to pack one bag for the week in Anaheim; one bag with class supplies & for carrying home my loot; one bag for the final week in San Francisco; and then one bag for all those one-night stops in between.  But when the packing is done, weight is a major factor, so inevitably I have to shuffle to keep each one at less than 50 lb. and then re-pack upon arrival. 

But here's the best news of all:  we could step out onto our second floor balcony every night and watch the fireworks next door at Disney.  The lights on the roller coaster and Ferris wheel changed colors too, so it was quite the show.  And the fact that I could watch them in my jammies was the icing on the cake.

We found the BEST gluten free pizza at Palo Mesa Pizza in Arroyo Grande.  Pricey like you can't even believe, but so good I'm already planning next year's vacation around it.  Pieology in Fairfield, just outside Sacramento, was good but in a different way.  It looked like a salad bar except the choices were toppings for your pizza.  Very clever and excellent service and food.  And then Pizza My Heart in San Francisco...I know it sounds like we ate nothing but pizza, but to discover so many options compared to here on the East Coast, I couldn't resist.

Of course we also found dozens of antique stores and antique malls all along the coast, and each one pulled me in like a magnet.  By the time our luggage was filled to capacity, weighed and determined to be bordering on the airline's weight limits, I still had days left in my trip.  It was heartbreaking to stop shopping.  Truly. 

I've been home 2 full months and still have 3 huge tote bags filled with treasures from the trip to be unpacked, sorted and stashed.  But no time to do it, as I'm headed off again next week.  More on that tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mail Art - Oh Happy Days

Are you having fun today?  Are you sending out some mail?  Getting some fun mail in return?  I've been a busy girl for the last 2 months, decorating piles of envelopes in all shapes and sizes so that when I'm ready to send something out the door, I'm prepared.  And the kids at the post office are so pleased with me!  All those stamps I'm buying...all these pretty envelopes heading out into the world...and every single day my mailbox is full of great mail art in return.

If you know me, you know I'm wild about art journals and make them in all shapes and sizes.  My stamp club has participated in embellishing a couple of composition book journals, decorating the covers and then swapping them among ourselves.  The one pictured above is one I purchased at Peak Fest, an arts & crafts festival held in Apex (the Peak of Good Living) on the first Saturday of May.  It's a fabric covered composition book made by "Piecefully Home".  You'll find her on etsy by the way if you feel you can't live another day without one of these too.

This is now my mail art journal, filled with all sorts of goodness like postcards and notecards and washi tape and stickers and used postage stamps.  It's getting really fat courtesy of a couple of websites I discovered recently.

First let's talk about, where you click on "random search" and see different people with snippets about themselves on their profile.  I've found a handful of people who love rubber stamps, or mail art, or some of my other interests, so I send them a letter or a postcard.  Someone sees my profile and does the same. 

Another is  With this one, a name & address is assigned to you and you drop a postcard in the mail.  Once it's been received, your name is given to someone else.  I mailed cards to Korea, The Netherlands, China, Russia & Germany.  The card on the right above came to me from Mexico.  How cool is that?  Assuming you don't think it's dreadful that it took 6 weeks for your card to Korea to actually arrive, and you don't mind that very long wait for yours to cross the oceans blue, you'll like it.

My favorite site however is and this is the one keeping me busy and my mailbox overflowing on a daily basis.  You have the option of joining groups (Amazing Mail Art, Creative Mail Swapping, One Stamp Swaps, The Swapping Artist, What's In Your Mailbox, etc.) or just browsing all the swaps that are open to everyone.

The pages of my journal are filled with a lot of my mail, but certainly not all of it.  I've received handmade envelopes, made of calendars, popcorn bags, and drawings.  My postcards are store bought but also handmade and my favorites are made from recycled cardboard like cereal boxes and packaging.  I've sent out some pretty clever ones myself but silly me, I didn't think to snap any photos before I sent them on their way.

In the above photo we have a collection of goodness that arrived yesterday.  Top left is actually a canvas that I'll be dropping off on Friday in downtown Apex for some lucky person to find.  Interested in learning more about Free Art Friday?  There are websites and blogs; go look for them.

I made a small piece of my art, added a tag: I'm Free Take Me Home!, but again, failed to take a photo.  The postcard on the top right is a chunk of cardboard with a book page and washi tape added.  The bottom left is a fabulous dyed 6x9 envelope from TX and the houses were drawn in marker on notebook paper before being cut out and adhered!  Inside were lots of surprises like notecards, postcards, Halloween stickers...such a treat! 

And that postcard in the bottom right was one of 75 that came yesterday from etsy artist Brian Moss ( in VA. 

I've been sending out postcards I bought in Savannah and WV and VA and other places from my recent road trips, but I was ready for something new.

Aren't these incredible?  16 went out in today's mail to Maine, North Dakota, Washington and points in between.

Please pardon duplicates.  I pulled some off the pages and moved them around to hide my journaling and notes.

Want to play?  Send me something and I'll send something back.  Come on!  Let's put a party in your mailbox!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Stampaway Play

I taught an acrylic class this year that included making cards as well as a wall hanging.

We played with alcohol inks of course and acrylics from Clear Scraps.  Don't you love these funky hearts?
Can you see the dangling dragonfly?  We twisted copper wire and strung it with glass beads.  I thought that was a very nice touch when I designed the class last year.
And we have one brave gentleman join the fun, and seriously, I think he enjoyed himself.
Instead of beads for his, he liked the miniature dice, so I fished out several in all different colors.  I knew his should be truly unique.
We had a bit of fun in my art doll class, but I forgot to take photos until everyone was ready to leave.  Shame on me.
It was tremendous fun.  Just look at these smiles.
Sorry this one is blurry.  I was laughing which means we were having fun, but not so great when I'm supposed to be capturing memories.

In my collage class there seemed to have been less time for play.  Each kit was packaged in a wooden cigar box and while I know there was more than enough ephemera, I kept wandering around the room, passing out more...and more...and more!
So just when they thought it was safe to start making those final decisions, I would sweep through with a few extras they didn't realize they would need.  And then final decisions had to be changed.  For the better of course!

I had fun.  Just wish I'd taken more photos throughout the week.  Did I mention I need a personal assistant?  Preferably one handy with a camera!