Saturday, December 31, 2011


Happy New Year!!!

Here is hoping that 2012 is a better year than 2011.

Each year, many bloggers choose a word for the upcoming year. My word for 2011 was "REMEMBER." It was so important for me to try and remember all my many blessings. I think I did a good job.

This year, my word is "breathe."  I am one of those women who tends to overcommit. There is just so much I want to do and experience!!!  I tend to stretch myself too thin and don't take care of myself or my family.  In 2012, I'm going to try and slow down and BREATHE.  Take time to smell the roses, to listen to the wind in the trees, to look at the stars. To enjoy life!!!

I already had this wonderful bracelet from Horsefeathers that says "Blessed." 

I ordered a new plate for it that says "Breathe."  I think it will be a great reminder for me to carry around with me this year.

What is YOUR word?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Wishing you the merriest of Christmases and the Happiest of New Years. 

I will see you all in 2012!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Say It Every Day

I just found out that my friend J. was killed in a car accident yesterday evening.  She was a fairly new friend.  We met serving on the board of our local Woman's Club together.  I so appreciated her spirit and enthusiasm.  She was in the process of whipping out group into shape and a new era for our Club was dawning.  And the blink of an eye...our dear friend is gone.

This morning, I am trying to remember my last interaction with my friend.  Did I give her a hug? Did I wish her a very Merry Christmas?  Did I tell her how much her contributions are valued? I can't remember.

My father was killed in 1999 and I DO remember my last interaction with him. It wasn't good.

I just shared our grief over J.'s death with another friend over the phone. When we ended our phone call, I told her I loved her and she said that we need to do that more often. We don't know when our time here will end.  It is so important to take every opportunity to hug the people in our lives and tell them we value them and love them.  You don't ever know when it may be the last time you see someone.

Today, I encourage you to tell the people in your life how much they mean to you.

Say it every day.

A Long Winter's Nap

Friends, I have no reason to feel this tired.  I had a lovely weekend filled with holiday activities.  I took a half day off from work on Friday for Noodlebug's school party.  And I even got his homemade gifts finished for his classmates.  (photo to follow)  Saturday, I took Noodle to a puppet show at the library, helped my mother set up her Christmas tree and then headed to my friend's for a holiday get-together.  Sunday was another lovely holiday open house at the beautiful home of my friend Paula in Sonoma.  I was fighting a sick headache but I was determined I wasn't going to miss this event.  We were the first ones there and I settled myself in one of Paula's comfortable recliners next ot the fire with a plate full of food.  The chair was similar to this one:

The house began filling up with people. I'd say there were at least 50 people milling around as I sat snuggled into the chair in the middle of the room. I did not budge from that spot for almost two hours. In fact, I very nearly closed my eyes and went to sleep right there in the middle of the party. I know Paula would have forgiven me if I did that. I think social propriety was the only thing that kept me from it. I didn't mingle. I didn't chat. I was a lousy guest.  It seemed like my bum was glued to that chair.  I finally peeled myself out of the chair because we had to leave to make it to Noodle's Christmas pageant at church.  He did a good job in spite of the fact that his shepherd costume kept slipping off. 

I have three more days of work until my holiday begins.  I have no reason to feel this tired but I think the holidays have caught up with me.   I am so ready to settle myself for a long winter's nap. 

I am asking Santa for the gift of time this year.  We have downsized a lot this past year and have more much to get rid of.  I don't need any more "stuff" in my life.   I used to think gift cards were not very good gifts but I have changed my tune.  I would LOVE giftcards in the form of Starbucks, Michael's, our local movie theater or my favorite hangouts to go to with girlfriends.  Things that would enable me to continue my bad habits.  Actually, I love gift cards that enable me to spend quality time doing fun things with the people I love.  I don't often get to take Noodle to movies.  I don't spend NEAR enough time with my girlfriends.  I don't ever eat out with my husband. Sometimes, those things are just luxuries we can't afford. So now, instead of seeing giftcards as the lazy gift giver's gift, I see them as a lovely gift of time with those I love.  And we can all use more of that!

What is on YOUR list for Santa?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Action Pack 8: Celebration!!!

The new ACTION PACK is here and it is bigger than ever!!!  80 pages of tutorials, crafts, recipes and more.  All for only $8. It's more like a book than an e-zine!!! 

In this Celebration issue…
■Recipes: cookies and holiday treats from around the world (9 recipes)

■Decorations: – ornaments, wreaths, banners and a nativity scene (8 projects)

■Games and gifts: – Wintry scenes to cut out and display, cards and gift tags, dress ups and games to make and play with (6 projects including printables)

Buy your copy here!!!

This e-zine is geared towards children ages 7-12 but many of the projects can be adapted for children of other ages.  There are so many wonderful things to do in this issue and it will be perfect our for holiday vacation.  I especially love a project where you make a red pillar mailbox out of an oatmeal can and make adorable wee little packages and mail to go in it.  And the recipes all look so delicious!!!  I think this may be the best Action Pack yet!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Fun

We had a lovely weekend.  We rode the Polar Express on Saturday which was just delightful.  Noodle got so excited when we arrived at the "North Pole" and Santa boarded the train.  Yes, I wore my jammies. I think I was the only adult to do so.  I decided a long time ago that I would no longer allow my fears about other people's opinions to prevent me from doing things that make me happy. Life is too short to worry about what other people think.

We also stopped by our local Festival of Trees.  I have been helping to develop this fundraiser and I think it turned out brilliantly.  A local photographer did some impromptu photo sessions for a $10 donation to the charity.  Here is one of my favorites:

And, in other news, something exciting happened last night. I actually sat down and sewed in my workroom!!!  I worked really hard on digging my way into my workroom and made enough space to actually sit down and work on some gifts for Noodle's class.  I am trying to make some of the adorable hot/cold packs I saw on Saltwater Kids.  The class party is on Friday so we'll see if I get it done!

Hope you are having a wonderful Monday!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Noodlebug Homemade Gift Redux--Lil Blue Boo

Every year I try to give Noodle a homemade gift for Christmas. This year, I have been feverishing working on embroidering Charlotte Lyons' adorable Maggie's Farm. It is becoming clear that I am just too slow.   It may have to be a birthday gift instead.


I am extremely late to the party but I have finally discovered Lil Blue Boo. Not only is Ashley amazingly creative but her wonderful spirit amazes me every day.  She makes me laugh and inspires me even as she battles cancer.  She makes me realize what a whiner I truly am.  Ashley recently posted a tutorial on a little box of peg dolls for boys and girls complete with printable.  I gathered the materials and finished painting the peg dolls a few days ago.  I think it is such a great idea that I have asked a cartoonist friend of mine to make me MORE backgrounds for the kit so I can make characters like the Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood.

(image source)

Find Ashley's wonderful BOYVILLE tutorial here.

Isn't the internet great?!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Matthew Mead and Status Update

I started reading HOLIDAY WITH MATTHEW MEAD a few issues ago when I found out about all the wonderful bloggers like Amy Powers that are featured in it. There is so much wonderful inspiration!  Plus, you should really check out Matthew Mead's blog.  Lots of great inspiration and wonderful giveaways!  Get your special keepsake expanded issue here.

I can't believe how quickly time is passing!!!  I keep getting sidetracked and haven't even really started Noodle's homemade gift. I have been working on my gift for my mother. As you know, I signed us up for the Brave Girls Club Mother/Daughter class.  My mother decided not to participate but I am still doing the class and working on things for her.  I will present them to her at Christmas.  I love these felt flowers over on Little Bit Funky and I'm going to try and make some of those as gifts as well.  How am I going to get all of this done?!!!

I hope you are all decking your halls and making merry!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Virtual Angel Tree

When I was growing up, my parents always took me to the Salvation Army Angel Tree at the mall and we would pick out a few Angels off the tree and go shopping for them.  There are many worthy charities that do things like this but this one appeared at our mall every year and made it easy to give back.

I have tried to continue to do something like this every year but sometimes I feel stretched so thin trying to get everything done.  I was excited to do hear that JCPenney is teaming up with the Salvation Army this year for their Angel Tree program.  You can adopt an Angel online by searching for your zip code and then selecting the type of recipient you would like to have.  I chose a senior citizen because I feel they get especially overlooked at this time of year when so many charities focus on children. I can't imagine what it would be like to be a senior alone at this time of year.  I chose a woman in my area who is the same age as my mother.  I ordered an item off her list at JCPenney online and had it shipped directly to the Salvation Army.  They are even offering FREE SHIPPING codes through December 9. 

Now, I can cross this important part of Christmas off my list.  I hope it gives a little comfort to my Angel.

Go here to find your own Angel.

Monday, November 28, 2011


My sweet friend Michelle of Hippie Dog fame spotted me in the December issue of ALL YOU magazine:

(photo borrowed from Hippie Dog)

I even read that particular issue and missed it! 

I LOVE looking at holiday lights.  Absolutely love it.  If I am lucky, I can con my husband into driving so I can drink hot chocolate and be totally focused on the lights. We like to decide as a family on our favorite holiday house and leave them a little treat on their doorstep. All the decorations give me such joy and I think it's nice to let people know they brightened your holiday.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cyber Monday at Pick Your Plum!!!

You all know what great deals Pick Your Plum has for crafty people.  They usually go so quickly that I often don't get to them before they sell out.

In honor of Cyber Monday, Pick Your Plum will be offering NINE different products! The products will be posted at 6:00am (MST).  I'm not sure I will be up early enough but maybe you can find some good deals.

Go here to shop and good luck!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks

I made the little graphic above on Picnik in honor of Thanksgiving.  Plus, it is a good everyday reminder as well.

My husband has been struggling with his "thank yous" for awhile now.  With everything that has happened in the past year and a half, it is so easy to focus on the bad instead of the good. I will be praying for a peaceful, quiet Thanksgiving this year. It will just be four of us. The boisterous Thanksgivings of my childhood are pretty much over. My son will never have cousins. There will be no more children in our little family unless I produce them. My son only has one grandparent and no aunts and uncles on my side.  But we still have our family and we are blessed.

I have Wednesday through Sunday off from work. I'm going to set aside unpacking boxes and have some fun with my child.  My husband is leaving Friday to go and visit some friends and try to find a little happiness so perhaps we will surprise him with a house decorated for Christmas when he gets back.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. It's a good life and we have a lot to say "thank you" for.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Update on Crowdtap **updated with Pinecone info**

Some of you may remember that I mentioned Crowdtap five months ago. It is a new opinion panel site that I decided to join. (because I love taking surveys!) 

I thought I would report back on my experience with them so far.

It is really fun to take surveys with Crowdtap. The more interaction you have with them, the better the benefits.  You get points and "money" by answering surveys and joining panels.  When you reach $10 in "money," you can cash it in for a gift code to Amazon.  Part of the money is also donated to the charity of your choice which I love. I have heard that some Tappers have gotten free products but I haven't gotten any so far. I am currently at the Gold level and it has taken me five months to get there.  It seems like most of the good opportunities go to people at the Gold and Platinum levels. I tried to participate in every activity and survey opportunity that was offered as long as it was something that was appropriate. In other words, I would never lie just to get into a survey or opportunity.

It can take a long time to move up through the ranks.  It took several months to accumulate enough "money" to get my Amazon gift code but it helped me to get a birthday present for almost free which was great!  You really have to be patient and stick with it in order to reap any real benefits.

If you are interested in joining, go here.  If nothing else, it can be really fun to answer surveys. And you never know what kind of product opportunities might come up!!!

I just got an e-mail that Pinecone Research is recruiting.  I have been doing surveys with them for years and they don't often allow new people to sign up.  For each product survey you take, you get $3 free and clear deposited into your Paypal account.  (this does not include general information surveys they sometimes send)  They also enter you in contests to win cash as well but I have never won one.  However, it is really nice to get cash for answering surveys and I like seeing it pile up in my Paypal account. I use it to fuel my Etsy addiction!!!

For a limited time, you can sign up for Pinecone here.  (I do not get any compensation for getting you to sign up for Pinecone. I just think it's the best deal out there for people who like answering surveys)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Christmas Mouse

I always feel blessed to have such creative people in my life and when I find one of their wonderful creations, I just have to share it with you.

This little guy arrived at my house this week:

(photo borrowed from and owned by Hippie Dog Primitives)

This adorable Hippie Dog creation comes with a pencil and a little rolled up note for Santa.  And he smells so delicious!!!    I can't wait to introduce him to Noodle but he'll have to wait a little longer.  You can find your own here but you may have to wait until after Thanksgiving to get it.  I have so many of Michelle's primitives and I love each and every one. Plus, she is such a sweetheart and has been a blogger friend for years.

I am going to hit the storage unit this weekend and try to find Thanksgiving decorations. Better late than never!! I also need to locate our Elf on a Shelf so he will be ready to appear on December 1.  Our elf is named Crumpet and I have already let Noodle know that he is on his way!

My husband is being a real grump about decorating for Christmas so it looks like I will be doing it on my own.  I am looking forward to sprucing up the fence at our new home. I already envision it covered in swags of lighted garland. I'll let you know how it turns out!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mothers and Daughters

I love my mother so much. I am the only child of an only child. My father was killed in 1999 so I am pretty much the only family my mother has.  We are very close.  Close relationships can be complex.  We have been struggling in our relationship for several years now.  Sometimes changing roles can be difficult and we have to figure out new ways to relate to one another. It hasn't been easy.

With our new scaled-down Christmas idea, I was trying to think of something small I could get my mother.  There are lots of things I know she would like but I hesitate to add any more "stuff" to our lives. I want to give her something meaningful.

I have so enjoyed the classes I have taken with Brave Girls Club and I was thrilled to hear they were offering a Mother/Daughter online class.  The class starts today and I can already tell that wonderful things are going to come out of it. I paid for the class and, to make things easier, gathered a basket of materials for my mother.  I left them at her house as a surprise. I am also going to print all the PDF files for her so all she will have to do is watch the videos and do the art projects.  At the end of the class, we will have some concrete keepsake art items to present to one another.  This will be our Christmas gift to each other.

Although the class was originally created for mothers with younger daughters, BGC assures us that it is appropriate for mothers and daughters of any age. I'm hoping that making this journey together will provide some much-needed healing and reminders about how much we love one another. I hope Mom enjoys it!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

What I Have Been Up To

I had a glorious three-day weekend with my family. It poured down rain on Friday so we missed the wonderful Veterans' Day Parade that our little town hosts but we still had a nice day.  Every day I have off from work is a blessing. It is precious time that I get to spend with my family.  But it makes it that much harder to head back to work.

It was sunny on Saturday and Sunday so we worked in the yard and spent some time unpacking more boxes. I can actually walk into the room that will eventually be my workroom.  I gathered the materials I need to start Noodle's "Maggie's Farm" gift although I haven't actually started it yet.

Money is so tight right now and we have decided to do a very scaled down Christmas.  I'm not even sure if we have room for Christmas tree in our new home but we'll figure something out. The adults don't really need any gifts so we are skipping that.  Noodlebug will just get three gifts from us (Santa) and I'm sure that will be fine. I want to focus on more family adventures and time together this holiday season. That will be the best gift. No running around stressing about Black Friday deals or finding gifts on sale. Just celebrating the gift of each other.

Speaking of money, I am going to try something new. I am investigating how Business2Blogger works.  Other bloggers that I trust have tried it out and it seems to be an interesting way to do some paid blogging. I'm pretty picky about paid posts and reviews so we'll have to see what they are offering. Still, it could generate a little income. My friend Monique and I are also considering setting up an online store.  She's actually a much better crafter than I am so it would probably just be me helping out. Still, it could be fun. I'll keep you posted!

Hope you are having a great day!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stocking Stuffer?

Look what Pick Your Plum has today!!! Personalized address stamps for only $8.75! I'm going to order one as a gift for Noodle's preschool teacher.

Get your own stamp here. But hurry! These go fast!!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Creatively Made with Jeanne Oliver

As some of you may know, I have been taking the Brave Girls Club Soul Restoration classes and it has been a wonderful experience.  I enjoyed it so much that I have been looking for new online classes to take.

I am already a fan of Jeanne Oliver's art and clothing so I was so excited when she announced that she is launching a new e-course in January called Creatively Made.

Here is her description of the course:

It sounds like it will be a great way to start the new year and I am so excited about it.  Would you consider joining me? I think it will be so fun!!!

You can view a video about the course here and get details about how to sign up.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Scenes from Halloween 2011

Quick and easy pumpkin:  (Did you know that old-fashioned pointy can openers make excellent pumpkin carving tools?)

(We named him "Joe Blow")

(Noodle with his little girlfriend---photo by Paul McGavin)

I am adding this photo so you can see all the fake pumpkins I carved.  Got them at Michael's at 50% off plus a one day only 25% coupon.  They are REALLY hard to carve!!!  You can see my much loved family sign by Heidi in the background.

(trick or treating our friend Monique)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Action Pack 7----Sticks and Stones

The new Action Pack is here! Wahoo!!!

As most of you know, I only do a minimal amount of advertising on my blog. I am an affiliate for three different vendors and that is it. I am highly selective about what a choose because I want you to know that I really believe in these products. Whipup's Action Packs are one of them. Kathleen Ricketson creates these wonderful e-zines for kids that gets them outdoors and exploring the world around them. Each issue has a different theme and the new one is "Sticks and Stones."

Most of the activities are geared for children ages 7-12 but there are always projects that can be adapted for younger children.  Look at these colorful painted rocks:

And how about this adorable log cabin:

This printable downloadable magazine is available for only $5 and has no advertising.  Only fun things to do!!!

Get your copy here

I'm heading over right now to get mine.

Monday, October 31, 2011

BOO to you!

Well, I managed to get a few decorations up for Halloween. Most of my decorations are in storage and I'm hoping to get a little more organized before Christmas rolls around.

Noodle has decided to go as Jack Skellington for Halloween. (his favorite movie is "Nightmare Before Christmas")  I managed to dig out my old Sally costume which is a bit snug but I'm going to wear it anyway.  When I used to work at the public library, I had a special Halloween storytime each year and I always dressed as Sally.

It might be a little ambitious to try today but I love this free banner from Pick Your Plum:

It is free today only and would make a great Halloween decoration if you already have the materials on hand.

Get your own here.

I took a photo of the pumpkin we carved and I'll try to post it here later today.

Hope you all have a wonderful Halloween!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Kindness of ...

I am always amazed by the kindness of strangers online friends.  I recently admired Charlotte Lyons' new pattern for Maggie's Farm:

Each year at Christmas, I try to make at least one handmade gift for Noodle.  When I saw Charlotte's new pattern, I thought it would make the perfect gift this year.  (If I can ever get my workroom organized so I can find all my materials!)  When Charlotte learned of my recent struggles, she sent me a copy of the pattern as a gift.  So generous and thoughtful and it totally made my day.  I now need to find a way to pay her kindness forward.  In the meantime, if you want to stitchalong with me on this project, get your own pattern here. I have purchased quite a few of Charlotte's embroidery samplers and I just love her designs.

If I can get organized, I may also FINALLY try to finish Amy Power's ABC wooden spool project from one of her amazing Inspired Ideas magazines.  Find it on page 32 of her Autumn 2010 issue:

Amy will be releasing her latest Holiday issue next week and I can hardly wait to see what brilliant ideas she has to share.

I feel so blessed to have found such amazing people as Charlotte and Amy through blogging.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Recently, Noodle was selected to be a model in the Fall campaign of a local children's boutique called Cupcake. Here are a few photos from the shoot.  The kids were all so adorable!!!

(all photos by Mariah Smith)

The clothes are by Knuckleheads and that adorable hat is by Sand Cassel.  Noodle just loves that hat! It was a fun experience.  He is such a ham and really likes having his picture taken. What can I say? I'm a proud momma.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Highs and Lows

Well, we are in the new house.  We said goodbye to the old one. I did pretty well until I had a moment by myself in Noodle's room dismantling his crib.  (we decided to start him in a twin bed in the new house)  I put that crib together the day before my water broke.  I cried a lot. I will miss that house so much.

We are now surrounded by boxes and I have no idea where anything is.  It will take a long time to get settled.  To add to the stress, there was a major family row that could have permanent repercussions.  I know part of it was due to physical and emotional fatigue but it was pretty horrible.  I didn't really sleep last night.  I spent most of the night praying off and on and trying to find a solution to this problem.

We did manage a few moments of happiness yesterday morning. We headed to a Halloween event and Noodle wore the prince costume I made him. I didn't get the hat finished and his boot covers didn't quite fit so this Prince happens to wear Converse sneakers.

(petting a goat)

(with Grandma and a ghost)
(with his Godmother)

The cape was from GROWING UP SEW LIBERATED.  I improvised with the felt tunic and belt and made my own pattern for them.   I was going for Prince Philip from "Sleeping Beauty."  It looks okay.

He has store-bought Tigger and Jack Skellington costumes and will probably wear one of those for Halloween. I'm just glad he got some use from the Prince costume.

Now I'm off to unpack and pray some more.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oh My Stars!!!

I have mentioned before how much I love my stained glass stars.  They were one of the first things I packed up for the move and they will be one of the first things I UNpack. Every time I see my stars in the front window, it makes me feel so happy.  I have gotten all of my stars from Kurt Knudsen's Piggy & Dirt Etsy shop.

I am very selective about products and artists that I support on my blog.  Not only are Kurt's starts beautiful but they also come in some of the most lovely packages I have ever received!

I am craving this one for Halloween:

(image source)

And I need two sets of these for my Christmas tree:

(image source)
Think Santa might be able to find his way to my new home a bit early?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Moving On

Finding a new home has been a stressful and humbling experience.  We dearly love the house we have been renting for five years.  It is going to be so hard to leave it.  Beyond that grief, there has been the struggle to not only find a reasonable alternative but also to "sell" ourselves to potential landlords.  A few times, we were convinced we found the perfect house only to be turned down by landlords who did not find us to be desirable tenants. Even though I know it's just business, it's hard not to take it personally.

After making us jump through quite a few hoops (that often felt humiliating), a landlord finally decided that we were acceptable.  We have found a new rental home. It is a fairly big step down from our current home but it is nice and clean with a yard for Noodle (see above photo).  We are moving this weekend.  I feel better knowing we will have a roof over our heads and that we will be more or less settled before Halloween.  I want so much for Noodlebug to be able to enjoy the holidays.  I want that for all of us.

The freelance work my husband has been doing is improving and he is slowly adding to our family income little by little.  I'm trying to view all the changes as the beginning to a new chapter in our lives.

2010 was the "annus horribilis" and it spilled a bit into 2011.  I think these past two years have been a time of transition and change for us.  Personally, I have been drawn to opportunities that allow me to work on myself.  I have been reading SIMPLE ABUNDANCE by Sarah Ban Breathnach all year and I have taken both Soul Restoration courses offered by Brave Girls Club.  I have been re-prioritizing my extracurriculur activities and trying to figure out the best fit for my family. I've tried to start exercising regularly and have become more active in my church. 

I think when I look back at these two challenging years, I will discover how much growth and learning took place.  I can't see it right now....but I will.

I'll be back online next week after the move and hopefully I will have gotten the chance to get my craft supplies organized in the new house. Thanks for all your good wishes.  They helped!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mary Engelbreit Online Store!

(image source)

I just love Mary Engelbreit. I love her sweet graphic designs and I can never seem to stop myself from buying her products when I see them at Michael's.  I'm bummed that I missed out on experiencing her magazine but I am so so happy to hear that she is opening an online store!!!  The store open on October 10. Wahoo!

Check out the new store here and enter her contest while you are there!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Good Life

It's amazing how it was the combination of unemployment and the loss of our home of five years that brought me to my knees. These are not insurmountable obstacles but it felt so big.  It took me awhile to regain my footing and my perspective.  We have been lifted up by friends and family and surrounded by love and good wishes.  People that do not know me have sent me love and prayers and good thoughts.  It has been unbelieveable.  Only good things can happen. This is not the story of a family getting torn apart or about people facing deadly illness or the forever loss of a loved one. We are unbelieveably blessed.  I believe in the power of prayer.  I believe in the combined effect of goodwill and good wishes from others.  Look at what happened in Amy Powers' life last week.  Amazing.  Thank you to all of you for lifting me up.  I wish I could give each and every one of you a hug.

We have two applications in on two possible rental homes.  Hopefully, we will know something by next week.

In the meantime,  this is a Good Life.  A good good life.

Can't get this song out of my head today:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lessons Learned at ART IS...YOU 2011

Art is...You was my very first art retreat. I had such a great time. Sallianne and Ellen are truly amazing women. I would never have the patience or fortitude to put on events of that magnitude and deal with all the myriad details and problems that arise.  And they always seem to be in such a great mood!

I have discovered that there are several types of classes that one can take at a an art retreat.  Some are strictly technique classes where you do not take away a specific project. Some are technique classes where you replicate a sample the instructor has given you.  Some are classes where you are given a design to work off of but you provide the theme and/or inspiration.  I have discovered that my favorite type of class is the last version.  I love it when someone provides the basic framework and teaches the techniques involved but then lets me create my own vision. Shelly Massey's classes were like that.  I left with pieces of art that I felt were truly my own.  I LOVED Julie Haymaker Thompson's class and I learned so many techniques but I feel I just replicated her sample. (with the exception of the cat which is all my own)  I love that piece but I don't see much of myself in it.  However, I can now take the techniques I learned from Julie and do something of my own.

Everything is a learning process and I just feel good getting to create!

I also learned about the power in gathering a group of creative people together. I met so many wonderful women who quickly asked me my story and then got involved in it.  Three women tied wish bracelets to my wrist this weekend. Two have already fallen off so I'm hoping those wishes come true soon. Even though these women don't know me well, they are sending me prayers and positive energy which is so powerful.  I feel lucky to have been a part of it all and can't wait for next year!!!  I hope you'll join us too!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Art is You Petaluma Day Three---DOGGIE IN THE WINDOW

My last class was with Julie Haymaker Thompson. She taught us how to alter cheap craft store birdhouses into wonderful whimsical pieces.   Of course, I had to do a cat instead of a dog:

Here is the other side:

So fun!!!  Last night, at the Trunk Show I finally got to meet the marvelous Cathe Holden in person.  Getting the chance to spend time with Amy Powers and Cathe Holden and getting to meet the wonderful Shelly Massey made my first art retreat experience complete. Can't wait until next year!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Art is You Petaluma Day Two----LICENSE TO CREATE

I took my second class with Shelly Massey today.  We continued our work with vintage license plates and made wonderful and whimsical boxes.

Here is one of Shelly's:

Here is my finished creation:

I did a "Bloom Where You Are Planted" theme with a funky flower growing out of an old shoe.

Goober shot from Shelly's blog:

See more photos from Shelly's classes on her blog.

I am taking tomorrow off and then return Sunday for Julie Haymaker's DOGGIE IN THE WINDOW class.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Art is You Petaluma Day One----PLAYTIME

Day One of ART IS YOU!!!

The very first person I saw when I walked in the door was one of my very favorite bloggers---Amy Powers!

Not only is Amy incredibly talented but she is such a wonderfully sweet person.  I cannot WAIT for her new issue of Inspired Ideas e-zine!

Amy and I both took Shelly Massey's PLAYTIME workshop.  Here I am with Shelly and some of her wonderfully whimsical examples:

And here is my piece:

I've been thinking a lot about moons lately.  My moon and stars are balloons.

Here is Amy's wonderful family portrait!

And here is Muriel's jungle-themed piece:

This is Prentiss' work in progress. It has a Alice in Wonderland theme:

Shelly is a wonderful teacher and her class was so laid-back and fun.  I am taking another of Shelly's classes tomorrow. So far, so fun!!!

Here is a shot of one particular goober from Shelly's website:

(image source)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Making an Effort (and it's a big one)

After a sleepless night filled with crying and gnashing of teeth, I am trying this approach today.  ("trying" is the operative word)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Art Therapy

This weekend I will be attending my very first art conference/retreat in my own backyard.


I registered for this event long before my current woes and I debated whether or not to attend.  In the end, I decided that I really need this. I haven't done anything like this for myself in four years.  The best part is that I don't have to travel somewhere in order to do it.  I can come home to my family every night. 

I am taking three classes.   Two of them are being taught by Shelly Massey. I love her use of whimsy and color:


(photo borrowed from and owned by Shelly Massey)

WORKSHOP TWO:  License to Create

(photo borrowed from and owned by Shelly Massey)

The third class I am taking is being taught by Julie Haymaker.  I will have to incorporate a cat, of course.

WORKSHOP THREE:  Doggie in the Window

(photo borrowed from and owned by Julie Haymaker)

I am almost done with my trades and I have been sorting through my crafting supplies in order to pack my retreat kit.  I'm so excited!!!  I will do my best to take photos and share them with you throughout the weekend.  FYI---They are already planning another ART IS...YOU here next year so please think about coming out and playing with me!

P.S. Still no news on a new home. We are seeing two houses this afternoon and possibly one tomorrow.  Hopefully, we'll know something soon!