Friday, December 12, 2008

12 Days of Christmas

(Can you see the clear embossed 'JOY' down the left side?)

Have you been stalking Tim Holtz's blog lately? He has once again done '12 Tags of Christmas' postings, one a day for the last 12 days. If you need a jumpstart for your creativity, he has several inspiring new techniques to try. Take a look!

Jackie at Altered Pages has a gorgeous new kit coming out this weekend I believe. It's based on the 12 Days of Christmas and is also a Tags kit. I contributed a couple tags. They would be great for the top of packages but I think all the tags are so beautiful they could also be used as ornaments! I did an ornament kit for her 1 1/2 months ago that also included cards. You can find all her kits here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Past, Bread & Future

I baked bread yesterday.

I haven't made any loaves in a long time. DH & I have been on a perpetual diet for years (looking back I might add that they're not working out too well so why are we doing them? Okay, confession: Not working for ME I mean. DH has lost 60 lbs. It's called willpower.) I'm even back on a lo-carb diet right now, but I couldn't resist baking bread.

There is something about the smell of freshly baking bread that envelopes me in a wash of memories. It reminds me of days with toes tucked under blankets, a cup of hot tea, a plate of freshly baked warm bread with a dash of apple butter. I recall days of youth, time spent with family whether reading a book or playing a game. With my piece of bread mom made. It's comforting.

Now before you are shocked into thinking 'she actually mixed, kneaded and baked?!' No way. I have a double bread maker. I wished and hoped for one several Christmases in a row until one year it showed up. I was overjoyed. I have a book that I borrowed from the library on bread machine recipes. I enjoyed it so much it became overdue many times. Wouldn't you know it, not 1 month after I checked it back into the library, I found an exact copy at a garage sale for 50 cents. How is that for lucky? It's called 'More Bread Machine Bounty' by Better Homes & Garden. For yesterday's bread I used the Basic White Recipe.

Today I was thinking about the parent/housewife I'm not (this thinking is what prompted the bread making.) It's a running joke in my family that I don't cook. Somehow this has been mistakenly changed into the idea that I CAN'T cook. There is a big difference. Cooking is just not my favorite thing but I can do it. I've always love baking though. Anyway, thinking on my parenting/housewife type failures, I don't really decorate, or make the table pretty, don't cook dinner much, or put special linens on beds and pretty things all around, don't do special things like impromptu tea parties or cookie baking. One of my goals for the coming year is to change all this. Not to become perfect, but to be better. More the mom/wife I want to be. It's worth a shot anyway...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snow & Painting

This is what our day was like yesterday. I always enjoy the first snow of the year. My little one is anxious to go out and play and I'm usually caught without new gloves and hat for her. Why don't I remember to buy those when its not snowing out? She and the dog had the best time playing, although we had to run warm water over the dog's tummy to get the balls of snow off her fur. Then, the worrywarts that we are, we wrapped her in a towel and sat her on a heating pad to dry so she wouldn't get a chill. Yes, we spoil the dog.

I wanted to share a commission I finished up last month and mailed out. (It's just like the one I made for dd.) I'm very excited about how it came out. The baby in the piece is too adorable! The customer wanted the baby's name incorporated into the painting so I used modeling paste through a stencil. I love that look and will try it again.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Introducing... Macy Kate

Well, before my sister-in-law disowns me (or threatens to not bring the cheesy potatoes for Christmas dinner) I better post about the new addition to our extended family. You can ohhh and ahhh with me.

SIL Kelly was supposed to have a c-section on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Instead, she went into labor Thanksgiving evening, 3 am really. We met her and my brother Andrew at the hospital to pick up their twin girls to sleep at our house. I decided to stay at the hospital just in case I was needed. My brother and I ended up helping her deliver the baby (she chose to deliver instead of the CS). It was a wonderful experience and she is adorable.

Meet Macy Kate (Katherine) Riddle
Born November 28, 2008
6 lbs 3 oz. 18.5 in long

I'm an aunt once again.

Monday, December 08, 2008


How can a person start dieting all over again when there is still this stuff taunting in the house?

Any volunteers to come over and eat it for me? It's really very tempting. I'm just saying...

(The gingerbread cake is my fav.)

Just Because

I was thinking the other day about this friend I have. We've been friends since childhood, 31 years in fact. She lives 3 miles away and yet I haven't seen her for 1 year and 9 months. We haven't lost our friendship over anything its just one of those things. I think to call her every time I go grocery shopping which is one town over. The town she lives in. But I don't. Her husband is who we always call when we have a car problem and I haven't called them in 1 year and 9 months so I always think 'if I call now she's going to think I just want something, something for the car.'
This whole internal brain conversation I had with myself made me think of my blog. I love blogging. I love the people I meet. But its been a while. And its harder to just step back into it. 'I have to say something poignant or have something lovely to show to post again, now that it's been so long.' This is how I think.

But sometimes its just like when you've had a cut covered up by a big sticky bandaid. And its time to take it off. No, you can't wait until it falls off in the shower in three weeks. Sometimes you just need to grab hold and rip off the bandaid. All at once. Sometimes you just gotta do it.

So I'm blogging, even though I have nothing poignant, nor anything fabulous to share. Just to say 'hi blogland. I've missed you. I was thinking about you, wondering how your life has traversed?'

I think I'll call my friend tomorrow. Just because.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Christmas and Helping

Pic of last year's Christmas Tree.

Are you already thinking of the Christmas rigamarole? I know I am. It probably has something to do with Thanksgiving being next Thursday and the biggest shopping day of the year being the day after. I try to avoid that day like the plague. I stay home, do art, laugh at relatives who are up at the crack of yesterday to get to the dawn sales. This year won't be any different. There is nothing I want that bad to shove myself into a store with 10,000 other sleep deprived, hopped-up-on-caffeine, obsessive shoppers. I'm still getting over the fact that Christmas stuff started appearing in stores before Halloween was even over! Now that's just craziness. I understand that the economy is in the toilet and not as many people will be spending as much this Christmas. Stores are trying to advertise earlier so you're looking at product longer and its more likely you'll cave and buy. I get it. But it just brings it home for me how much we have, how much we are blessed, how little we really need. At least in our family.

I say this every year. We need nothing. And yet I still go crazy with Ebay & bookstore shopping purchasing gifts for the family. The kids usually have 10+ gifts a piece. Some little, some big but you get the idea. Too much. I think this year we're shooting for less-is-more. Maybe an electonic something and a couple books per person. Our extended family does this little dance each year called 'what are we doing for gifts THIS year?' Yes, its a dance. We never make a decision until last minute. Sometimes we're choosing names, sometimes we're just buying for everyone. This year I think we're just buying for kids. I hate the whole planning of gifts. It takes the joy out of it all. I tell my family, we can plan all you want but I do what I want. lol If I feel like giving something to everyone, I'll do that. Because for me its all about the giving. I don't care if I get any gifts. I understand why we do the dance, because with 15 people (16 come next week, yay for a new niece!) it can get expensive. I understand it, I just don't have to like it. All the commercialism. I hate that, and yet I contribute to it.

This year we're thinking of spreading the love. We're figuring where we can help out, and what we can do for those who don't have what we have. Our ideas so far:
*** 2 troubled children - a girl in my Sunday School class is a social worker with troubled/struggling families. Every year she is able to hand in the Christmas lists of kids she works with to an agency to fulfill their wishes. This year the agency isn't able to help as much. So we've taken on 2 children; 1 is a boy who is 10 and has similar interests to my 9 yr old dd. Legos, books, etc... We also picked a 14 yr old girl who unfortunately needs baby toys, maternity clothes and layette things. Yes, she is pregnant. My heart went out to her and I had to have her name.
*** The rescue mission downtown allows for help serving food at dinners. I know they're always crowded with help on Thanksgiving but not so much around Christmas. I plan to call and see if we can come on Christmas or the eve before, etc... My mom and SIL (possibly my teen too) are going down to serve this Saturday as well.
*** Our city has an assistance program. They provide food, clothing, assistance with bills for low income families as well as allowing families to come shopping in their building for Christmas gifts (for free.) I'm thinking we could either donate or sort food, or help out when people come for food and gifts.
*** Harvesters is an organization in Kansas City, that provides food to the needy. Many area grocery stores have barrels in the front where you can drop in some groceries you buy and share. I saw recently where a Sunday School class went to the headquarters and helped sort food into boxes to give to various organizations. I'm thinking we could do that.
*** I'm thinking the girls and I could spend an afternoon or two writing notes and Christmas cards to soldiers overseas. I know that a lot of people might be doing that but its another way we can help out and can do that during our school time. I also found that you can send phone cards, gift cards, etc... through here, and care packages here. What a wonderful way to tell our troops we care about them no matter where they are.

Does anyone have any suggestions of other ways to help out? We're still figuring out what is best for us...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Philosophy of Life - Creative Therapy

Today's Creative Therapy Catalyst is: 'What is your Philosophy of Life?'

I'm always one obsessed with words. I had to look up 'Philosophy' just to give myself some reference as to what I needed to create. My favorite definition (and one I most identify with the word Philosophy) is: "the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group." Ohhh, now we're asking the hard questions. The meaning of Life! What do I believe? Why am I here on this earth? I have lots of beliefs. Love one another, share, always be learning, don't sweat the small stuff, be kind, rewind... The list goes on and on. However, there are 2 things I tell my kids and my husband over and over. "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)" and "You can do anything you set your mind to." I think these are similar concepts and stem from a belief that if you are willing to try hard & work towards something enough and place your trust in God, you can do what he would want you to do. Sometimes you fail, but keep trying. My little one argues the most with me on this; saying "But I can't set my mind to my math." I tell her "You just WON'T. There's a difference." There are many philosophies like "Love your neighbor" or "Do unto others" and I can do everything much better when I gather my strength from Christ. I have trouble with this sometimes, always wanting to be the one in charge. Yet I can do anything when I just turn to him. I hope my children will leave my house someday knowing I love them but that Christ loves them even more.

Be sure to visit this week's Creative Therapy. The guest is Ali Edwards. I love her work and met her many years ago at a scrapbooking function.

** Please celebrate with me. My little baby girl, Alex, turned 16 today. My influence in her life is going down, as the friends in her life multiply. I just hope and pray that something I've said or done up until now will help keep her on the narrow path to where God wants her to be. She's a wonderful daughter. My first born. One I'm proud to call my daughter and one of my best friends.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Fun Meme

I found this meme on another homeschooler's site: A Full Heart. I thought it looked fun to fill out. If you complete i, let me know so I can see!

10 Years Ago I ...
1. Was getting pregnant with dd #2
2. Weighed less, had better hair
3. Worked at City Hall, DH was running for City Council
4. Completed my Associates Degree
5. Had just celebrated my 10th Anniversary

5 Things on my to do list...
1. Finish cleaning the bedroom
2. Finish up a customer's canvas order & my project for Creative Therapy
3. Pick out a couch, bookshelves & paint for living room (& go buy it all)
4. Start making a Christmas gift list & begin shopping
5. Make a Dr. appointment

5 Snacks I enjoy...
1. Combos pretzels
2. Nectarines
3. Cookies
4. Bugs on a Log (celery w/cream cheese & green olives)
5. Crackers & Cheese (Colby Jack preferred), maybe some summer sausage too?

5 Things I would do if I were a millionaire...
1. Give away my house
2. Travel the World extensively with DH and girls
3. Make sure kids (& nieces' & nephew's) college $ is covered and parents retirement paid for
4. Attend different art retreats I've always wanted to go to
5. Buy a house on the beach & apartments in NYC & Paris

5 Places I have lived...
1. Missouri
2. California
3. New York
4. North Carolina
5. Arizona

5 Jobs I have had...
1. Assistant City Clerk
2. Assistant Insurance Underwriter
3. Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Scooper
4. Chain Gang Jewelry Maker
5. Volunteer Case Worker at the Red Cross

Friday, October 31, 2008

New Art

I worked on a kit for Altered Pages. Simple idea of cards with detachable Christmas ornaments. You can see/purchase the kit here.

I got together with friends recently and we each had to bring a shoebox craft to share (Where you make a craft and then bring enough supplies and instructions so everyone who gets passed the shoebox can replicate the craft.) I made this card that was inspired by a collage in a recent Somerset Studio.

To see pics of the kids and pup pup's halloween costumes, check out my Homeschool Blog today.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Terrorific Tuesday


This month has flown by as fast as a witch on her broom! Can you believe that Halloween is almost here?? Well, unfortunately this is the last Terrorific Tuesday of the year, so whip out that glue gun and scissors and get to work on one of these great ideas that will be sure to delight ghosts and goblins of all ages!

Spooky Jewels Katie Hacker strings this red and black set using a Fresh resin pendant, polka dots, and metal skulls.

Fangtastic figurines Retta a.k.a. Attercat breaks out the polymer clay and whips up some glow-in-the-dark figurines.

Cool canister Serena the Crafty Mom revamps a bargain bin canister into an awesome Halloween decoration!

Gothic Pink Melissa J. Lee explores the spooky side of one of her favorite pastel colors.

"Eye"gor pin cushion Kiki of Kiki's Craft World knits up this eye-catching pin cushion bracelet.

Stamped paper coffin Kate Pullen, the Rubber Stamping Guide at folds and stamps up this little coffin box that Dracula would envy!

Fun party food ideas Amy at Living Locurto threw a Halloween party and came up with tons of great ideas for the food table including this adorable witch cake!

Double the goodness from Margot! The Impatient Crafter™’s final Terrorific Tuesday offering is a two part story of friendship, Goth Style. Here are links to see Morticia Invites Miss Havisham to Tea and The Invitation.

Spiderman pendant (but not the Spiderman you're thinking) Kim Ripley a.k.a. Stoopidgerl pours up a glittery sweet skull and crossbones resin necklace.

Quick & easy polka dot treat cups Alexa Westerfield a.k.a. Swelldesigner shows you how to make quick and easy Halloween treat cups sure to wow your guests!

3 brand new Halloween jewelry projects! Tammy Powley, the Jewelry Guide at does an all-nighter (almost) as she pushes for a few more Halloween jewelry projects, including a super cool sterling silver spider, a glass framed mixed-media Halloween-themed pendant, and to top it off, a silver headless skeleton charm.

Fast & Fun Halloween Boa Sarah E. White,'s Knitting Guide knits up this super cute boa perfect for those chilly fall nights!

Dia De Los Muertos Cigar Box Shrine Kathy Cano-Murillo a.k.a. The Crafty Chica honors the Day of the Dead with this beautiful shrine.

Happy Haunting Greeting Card Phyllis Dobbs treats us once again with this cute Halloween card, perfect for all your favorite goblins!

Gypsy Traditions Lorilyn Hurley of the Dream Life shares a touching story of her family's love for Halloween & their passion for playing dress up at their annual party!

More spooky pendants Rebecca Hull for HHH Enterprises does it again with these ultra fabulous pendants!

Boo Bucket Michelle McGee crafts up a spooky and scary bucket that will leave goose bumps on all your guests!

Vintage Postcard Banner
Kris Tuey aka: the Collage Contessa has made it official. Now you know exactly what time it is when you walk into her house. It's HALLOWEEN time! This vintage project using fun Halloween postcards is so simple you can even entice the kids to help as well!

Fall Wall Hanging
Kim of Sew Sugary Sweet stitches this wonderful and whimsical wall hanging for her Fall Swap partner.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Vintage Halloween Banner - Terrorific Tuesday

My last piece for Terrorific Tuesdays is something I've been working on for weeks, just never finding the time. I did it in pieces. A Halloween banner. Do you get the emails from the Dover company? They send weekly emails about their products, and give you samples to save to your computer and use in art. One week there were vintage Halloween postcards. Yum! I saved a lot of those! But you could use images you find on the internet, copied from books or draw your own! This is a very simple project, one my little dd helped with as well.

This is a great design to use for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines, even July 4th! Have fun creating and remember to let me know if you make something. I wanna see.

3 pieces Orange 8 1/2 x 11" cardstock
9 Vintage Halloween postcards or something similar, cut to 3 1/2 x 5" size
Background stamp (mine is like architecture iron work)
Black stazon ink pad
Embroidery floss (I used orange and dark brown)
Decorative Scissors (I used a 'victorian' style)
5 ft Ribbon (mine has pumpkins on it)
Chipboard letters, stickers or rubons spelling HALLOWEEN
Glitter glue (I used clear)
Poker tool or use a bigger needle
Needle & Scissors
Glue & Exacto Knife

1. Take orange cardstock, fold and rip into 4 even pieces. Cut the 2 long sides with the decorative scissors. I cut off just enough to make the decorative edge but not enough to cut off width.
2. Using the background stamp, stamp with the black ink, onto the orange cardstock pieces. Ink the edges of the stamped pieces as well.
3. Cut out your postcards to a 3 1/2 x 5" size and glue vertically on the stamped cardstock. I put my glue about 1" in on each side of the postcard. Don't glue all the way to the edges. It makes the next step harder.
4. Take your poking tool or bigger needle and evenly spoke holes around the edge of the postcard (mine are almost 1/2" apart.)
5. Thread a larger needle with embroidery thread (I did not split mine, I used all 6 strands.) Stitch around the entire postcard. This is so simple, my 9 yr old dd was able to help me.
6. Using the exacto knife, cut about 1/2" down on the postcard section of your pieces, a 1/2" vertical slit on the left and right side. This will be so you can thread your ribbon through for your hanger.
7. Thread your ribbon through so the middle of the ribbon is behind the postcard. Make sure you have about 5+ inches extra on each end of your banner.
8. Adhere the chipboard (or sticker/rubons) to the bottom left corner of the postcards, spelling out Halloween.
9. Using the glitter glue, choose parts of your postcards to highlight with glitter.
10. Hang up wherever you desire!

Unlimited Money - Creative Therapy

I'm sure we all dream of unlimited funds to buy and do and be with. However the catalyst for this week's Creative Therapy put one thought in my head. Taking my children traveling.

Journaling reads:
World Class Education: Sometimes I wish I had all the money I needed to take my children around the world. To travel to all sorts of countries as part of our homeschooling. I’d like to show them the world instead of just reading about it all..

This catalyst was in my head for awhile. Being that we homeschool our kids, I’ve always wanted to take them around the world. To help them experience life first hand instead of out of a book. To show them India, France, Scotland, Fiji, Argentina, Russia and Australia. To see the Eiffel Tower, Stone Henge, the Panama Canal. I want them to surf in Hawaii, float in a boat in Venice, ski in Switzerland. To experience the cultures, the exquisite foods and gorgeous architecture. I want them to learn languages, help others who are less fortunate and find their purpose in life. I hope someday we might be able to expand their horizons and show them the world.

(this is a page in my altered journal I've been working on periodically.)

Take a moment and go look at this week's catalyst examples. All are different, interesting, some stunning. I'm just in awe of everyone else's talents!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Random Post

Fall is rolling in now. It rained all day yesterday. I can't seem to find an umbrella, so I've been outside in my warm PJs (daily attire), sweater and a large floppy camouflage hat to walk the dog in my backyard. Yes, I look like an frumpy old hermit lady and I don't care. No one can see me with all the trees in my backyard and the neighbors are nicely tucked in their houses anyway, not outside with a stubborn dog who won't go the bathroom unless you come outside too. Dumb dog.

I received a pretty inspiring thing in the mail that makes me want a clean art room and plenty of time to myself. An order from Dick Blick. Can you tell I'll be busy this fall? I can already feel the creative juices flowing!

I'm extremely excited! I received a custom order the other day on my Etsy. Remember this piece I made for my dd's room?

A lady order one with her daughter as the subject. I can't wait to see how it comes out!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Etsy Sale 10/22-11/10

I really really need to send some Etsy love out into the world so I'm having a sale. From now until November 10th (my dd's 16th birthday by the way), I have half my store in a sale bin. Below you'll see a mosaic of some of my store items. It contains many of the sale items themselves. Come take a look! I will combine on shipping and I will do custom orders if you see something you like but want a bit differently. Many of my canvases are sold already but I can make something similar for you (just look at my sold items for a reference.)

Buy Handmade

Fall, Kansas City & New Art (freebie too!)

(CAUTION: Picture laden post.)

I'm so enjoying fall. Is it fall yet where you live? Today I took the pup pup out to do her business and she ran to and fro kicking up leaves (Kind of like the speedster on Heroes! lol). I could see her tongue hanging out in joy as she ran through the yard. I think she likes fall as well. Our yard is certainly showing signs of autumn. Leaves are changing and littering the yard in an array of colors. The small trees and vines that grow along our fencing are looking more bare and dropping their burrs and those pokey little balls the trees have. All the berries are drying up and the little flowers are almost all gone. Pup pup always comes inside with mini-burrs embedded in her fur and she has to endure a good brushing.

This weekend we headed to downtown Kansas City to watch DH run his first half marathon. in 6 years. (He's been training for his marathon coming up in January in Disneyworld!) My camera decided not to work at the exact moment he came across the line so I don't have that picture but here's an 'after' pic. He looks pretty good for running 13.1 miles. I would be dead at 1 mile. lol

What a sea of people. And this is just the runners waiting in line to get their fruit, juice, yogurt and cookies. You should have seen all the spectators!

Pic of dd watching for DH.

I also took a few pics of buildings in the surrounding area. I really liked the big yellow sign. If I had had more time I would have driven around to find more signs. The old metal lettering delights me.

My father works at an architectural firm right next to where the marathon began and ended ,so we went to see his office. I love all the little design elements, lamps and structures they have inside. The outside metal pieces on the buillding are copper tin-core. On the left (behind the yellowish tree) they have a built in grill for when they have office parties.

On Sunday we celebrated the extended family's 3 October birthdays.
Mine, mom and SIL's birthdays. I received lovely gifts of 2 fall scarves (one dd has already stolen although I plan to steal it back.), a yummy fall candle, a magnetic towel rack for the kitchen -Love it- and kitchen towels. Everything was my style and I love them. I was a bit poor so I made gifts for both of them. They seemed to enjoy them, I hope.

Here are some of the family pics from our party.
(Do you remember my post about my father, the coffee connoisseur, and how he roasts and grinds his own beans, AND collects vacuum coffee pots? You can see some of his coffee pot collection in the background of some of these pictures.)

(These are pics from last fall; looking into my neighbor's yard. Our colors aren't quite to this gorgeousness yet. Soon though.)

Last but not least... A few weeks ago I picked up pretty leaves from my back yard and couldn't resist scanning them in and making a sheet I can print and use in art. I thought I'd share them with you. Just click on them to go to my Flickr account. There you can click on 'All Sizes' above the pic and then do the right click-save to computer thing and enjoy! If you make art with them, let me know. Feel free to share them on your blog, just link to my blog please. Have fun creating!