Monday, November 30, 2009


Hmmmn, what's this dusty thing we have here? Oh, for shame . . . it's my blog !!! Maybe a cyber-Swifter will do the job and have it all looking shiny and new. On the other hand, a post or two once in a while would be better, wouldn't you say?

Lordy, when you fall off the art wagon (nod to Kate for that one), you fall hard. It's been forever since I've done anything and boy, am I rusty. Not promising any stellar art comeback, but I did manage to churn out a few ATCs due (overdue) for a swap.

The Tarot was the subject matter. My picks were High Priestess, Queen of Pentacles, The Moon, and Strength. Sounds like I watched too many Oprah episodes and then went to see one of the Twilight saga movies. In any event, my narrative prowess is lacking this evening, given the ungodly hour. I just had to make sure this bloggity blog stuff still works. So without further ado, here are the cards:

High Priestess ~

Queen of Pentacles ~

Strength ~

The Moon ~

They are all done in the same manner: gel transfers onto text, then layers of burned edge papers, burned edge transparencies, stitching and brass embellishments by Ashes2Beauty. The text is the significant factor. I tried to give some relevant meaning to the images and title of each card without reproducing the traditional interpretations. The pages were taken from a set of books entitled "The Light of Egypt". They were one of those obscure flea market finds you purchase and sock away for future use. The books are unusual and a bit cryptic, perfect for a tarot theme. The images are Rosetti women, some of my favorites. A bit more fun than the standard celestial-Mother Earth images typically associated with The Tarot.

Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and great start to the holiday season !! My apologies to all my blog buddies and cherished followers for being so neglectful and absent. I hope to be back at it soon and sharing comments with you all !!

Ciao for now,


Thursday, July 9, 2009


It's been a long time coming, but finally . . . a new banner !! I am ecstatic over the results, thanks to the gifted and ever so wonderful Lori Bartel of Farm Girl Arts. Lori does fabulous digital work. Little snippets of paper, fabric, and vintage ephemera are subtely layered and compiled to create truly unique and beautiful collages. Give her blog a visit to view some of the ready made banners she has available or contact her for a custom made one. She is a jewel of a lady, makes heavenly handmade soaps and lovely mixed media pieces, too.

I also want to thank Kim Logan of ArT ALcHeMy for the wonderful gift of vintage ledger pages, bills of lading and especially the photo of the group of little girls which form the basis of the banner. Paper Mischief mascots. Kim has been very inspirational to me and if not for her words of encouragement, there would be no blog. Some time ago, she noticed one of my ATCs, commented and asked simply, "Do you have a blog?" At the time, the thought was incomprehesible to me. But eventually curiosity won out over hesitancy and a blogger I became. So glad I did. Although I do not post as often as I'd like, blogging has been a gift and I thank each and every one of you for stopping by, commenting, following and sharing your talents with me.

Hope your summer is well underway and that you are enjoying time with your loved ones and your art.

Ciao for now,


Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a very talented and vivacious jewelry artist while in Asilomar attending Nina Bagley's jewelry and bookmaking class. Riki Schumacher fashions beautifully crafted, handmade, mixed media pieces . . . "wearable relics" as she calls it. Lovely, lovely vintage pieces with that highly detailed, ethereal quality that we all adore. Her work is so unique and breathtaking that I found it hard not to hover and gawk at her workstation in class !!

She and her family were in route from California to their summer home in Washington last week when their truck was broken into overnight at a hotel. All their belongings and her handmade jewelry were stolen. Countless hours and months of work gone in a matter of seconds. It made me ill to read her message and I cannot imagine how devastated she must feel.

So I write this post and ask all of you out there in blogland to please, please, please, spend a few moments visiting her blog, website and Flickr to familiarize yourself with her work. This is a small world and it is entirely possible that her pieces may show up at craft fairs, flea markets, pawn shops, eBay, . . . hell, even Etsy. You never know. Please be on the lookout and if you see anything that looks like it may be hers, drop her a line on her blog. It would be wonderful if she were reunited with any of her belongings.

Here are the links, and again, thanks for taking a look.

Ciao for now.


Sunday, June 14, 2009


What to do ? What to do? My quest was to alter this little guy as part of the First Annual Art Buddies Invitational hosted by the energetic and talented Dayna Collins of Alley Art Studios. I was stumped for a while. The little guy is great fun to play with. His joints are articulated so that he is as flexible as a yogi. My first inclination was to paint him, but, nahhhhh, to predictable. Then beeswax, of course, crossed my mind. Nope. That would freeze up his movement. And he is such a pretty color wood. So why not leave that to shine through in some manner?

The decision was made to give him some tatoos !!! Transfers would have been impossible. And simply collaging elements onto his surface would have taken an eternity. Rub-ons were just the answer. 7 gypsies makes the coolest sets and the images and patterns just lent themselves to the idea of body art for the art buddy. The rub-ons went on perfectly. Now he sits on the edge of a collaged canvas with the words "Just Start" scribbled at the top as a reminder to myself not to overthink this stuff. Jump in and begin. It doesn't have to be perfect. Creativity comes in bouts, some more productive than others. But it is all a process and all in the name of fun. A good reminder from a little guy.

Ciao for now.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Finally. After waiting soooo patiently for the past five months (and patiently waiting is not my strong point), I . . . got . . . to . . . play . . . with . . . encaustics !!! My love affair with encaustic began when I happened across the work of two immensely talented artists: Sandy O'Brien and Bridgette Guerzon Mills. These ladies have vision and an eye for aesthetics like you wouldn't believe. The kind of art that reaches your soul and leaves you breathless.

And so I decided that I had to try it for myself. This would not be something I'd be content just to collect. The textures of wax are too enticing. The colors and depth, too tempting. I had to experience encaustic firsthand. Ordinarily, I'd jump in head first with an instructional book or two and a manic shopping stint through Dick Blick or some other on-line supplier. But after talking with Bridgette and the very gifted Judy Wise, it was clear that my best course of action would be to wait and take a workshop in encaustic. Very important to learn proper ventilation procedures and the properties of the wax. Didn't want to develop any bad habits either.

Thus, in mid May, I set out for the hill country of Boerne, Texas to attend an R&F Handmade Paints encaustic workshop taught by Gina Adams. Without doubt, it was one of the most enjoyable of my little artistic excursions. There were eight of us in the class, all from varied backgrounds. Gina is the kind of instructor you hope for. Warm, open, wonderfully humorous. Her laid back style greatly enhances the classroom experience. Her art is uniquely hers, deeply symbolic and imbued with personal significance. Take a look at her site here and prepared to be wowed.

I cannot even begin to tell you how these pieces were constructed. There are so many techniques and tools used in encaustics and I am but a wee beginner. Laying down the wax smoothly is extremely difficult. Good thing I like rawness, and edges, and brushstrokes because my first pieces are chock full of missed spots, overly scraped areas and heavy handed inscribing. But I loved the process, the gorgeous array of colors and the way the wax melds into each successive layer and leaves you to excavate, scrape and inscribe. The spell has been cast and I'll go back for more.

Ciao for now.


P.S. Captions with titles and dimensions for each piece can been seen on my Flickr photostream. I got totally frustrated trying to center the captions under each picture. Blogger would not cooperate tonight.


Woefully remiss on this front, folks. Kate and Diana recently each shared a couple of blog awards with me and I am very tardy with posting a mention. So many, many thanks to you both for your lovely thoughts and continued support. Your art and friendship brings me great joy. As for passing it on, any one listed on my sidebar is welcome to post the badge to their blog, too !!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Asilomar, California

By the sea, we find ourselves.
(Based on an E.E. Cummings quote.)

Ciao for now.


Saturday, May 23, 2009


"True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost."
- Arthur Ashe
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Happy Memorial Day to all !! Hope you have a great weekend with family and friends. And pause for a moment in honor of those who have given their time . . . their lives . . . in duty to our country.

I am in between travels now and hope to have some new things to share upon my return. Tales of wax and handmade books. Stay tuned.

Ciao for now.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Winner takes all time again in one of my groups. We could chose any theme. Easy enough. I have a few Poe images on hand and decided he would look nice against a backdrop similar to the Lincoln card I did recently. The background is simply a collage of a vintage roster page, hand rusted and hand patinated paper scraps (you can get the solutions to do this at any Micheal's), and the old standbys: star printed mulberry paper, muslin and beeswax dipped text. The Poe image is from Flickr commons. The card was finished off with mica and embellished with handrusted wire along the edges.

The bit of text found its way to the card. It was not a conscious decision on my part. Read: it was sitting in the scrap heap begging to be used. At first, I was not going to use it. The last letter is clipped off. But then, Poe had an imperfect childhood, orphaned at three years old, present at his mother's death, and later taken in by wealthy foster parents. So the irregular text seemed relevant after all, representative of an incomplete life. One that clearly colored his work and poetry. Poe recognized this in himself. "From childhood's hour I have not been As others were". - Edgar Allan Poe

The card is packaged and ready to go to the recipient. Hope it makes a nice addition to her collection.

Ciao for now.


Sunday, April 12, 2009


For He so loved
and thus, sacrificed.
For all,

(Handcrafted of rusted wire and faux thorns made from wooden skewer tips.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Wishing everyone a Happy Easter
and also a Happy Passover. May you have
enjoyed your time with family and friends
this day.

Ciao for now,


Sunday, March 15, 2009


Dr. Evil, Musician, Biker Boy. Those were the remaining three titles for the men themed cards I had to complete this weekend. After Lincoln, I wasn't sure if I had used up my creative quota, but I had work to do and so I brainstormed. Or at least it feels like my brain has been through a storm, but it may just be the Sunday dinner wine.

Who to choose as "Dr. Evil"? One popular choice comes immediately to mind, but my darker side kept chanting 'Hannibal Lecter, Hannibal Lecter". ("Silence of the Lambs" is a masterpiece of a psychological thriller and one of my favorite movies. Thomas Harris is a brilliant author and if you haven't read his books, you are missing out. But I digress.) I gave Lecter a try with a few different images, but it just wasn't happening. So I settled on my second choice and began to pull together a few telltale elements. Every piece of this card is a clue, so I won't reveal here who is "Dr. Evil". (Spoiler alert: don't look at my Flickr photostream.) No great mystery, I am not that profound. I just thought it would be fun to include a little riddle with this post. Sooooo . . . who is it? Theory holds that this individual was, in real life, a physician. Hence, I've got the "Doctor" part of the card theme covered. "Evil." His acts were grotesquely so. Read the fine print on the transparency. (Life advice: read the fine print on EVERYTHING.) The spatter, the neurological affliction that could only explain his behavior. The torn fabric, the razor (it is a safety razor, the kind you use for eyebrow shaping), the vintage paper that counts to the number six. And lastly, the twine, a miniature version of rope. No greater a dark figure in true crime history.

"Musician" was a much easier man to tackle. Not that I tackle that many men . . . but you know what I mean. I am a huge Louis Armstrong fan. "What A Wonderful World" is my all-time favorite song. Chokes me up every time. There are many, many images available of Satchmo, but this one of him in silhouette, standing on stage, reaching out to the crowd, is silently strong. I wanted to stick with that tone, so I did a simple, graphic card. The background is simply brayered acrylics. I did not prepare the background specifically for this card. It is something I had laying around for ages and was glad that I kept it stashed away for so long. Gotta love it when you have something on hand that fits the bill. The image of Louis is a contact paper transfer. I then attached a brass "L" and a fleur-de-lis rub on. The fleur-de-lis is a nod to his New Orleans roots. The card itself did not need further embellishment but it needed something. That ever elusive, dreaded SOMETHING that nags at you until you are satisfied. After some tinkering, I decided that it would look best matted against a jet black background. So I painted a mat board card with bone black acrylic, slightly trimmed the ATC and stuck the two together. Done and satisfied. Sometimes simple is the best.

Lastly, I had to come up with a biker boy. This gave me hell. No other way to put it. I tried images of Jesse James, Paul Tuttle, Marlon Brando from "The Wild One", etc., etc. and nothing worked. I have trouble using contemporary images in my cards. Nothing wrong with them, they just don't seem to work for me. So after looking and looking, I found this cool pic of a vintage motorcyclist and decided to give it a go. The background colors are crimson and payne's grey acrylics. I then collaged a piece of pattern tissue over the acrylics with beeswax. The image was then added with more beeswax and the whole piece buffed with a cloth. This really brought out the deep tones of the paints. The button was added to further the vintage theme and that is when the title of the card came to mind: "Slow Ride". I probably could have left the card as done then, but it needed another final touch. Gold leaf was added along the edges and top of the card by simply laying the gold leaf over the surface and running a stylus tip down the edges in a line. I got a little carried away at the top of the card and am not totally happy with how it turned out, but it was an experiment and next time I will be a little more precise with my placement. By the way, applying gold leaf to beeswax is not my invention. I learned this from the mega-talented Judy Wise whose encaustic work I absolutely adore. She was so gracious to share with me at Art & Soul in Portland how she employed this technique. If you have a chance to meet her, take a class or buy her work, do so. She is very gifted and one of the most genuine souls you will ever meet.

The boys have all been bundled up and shipped off to the UK for the swap. It truly was challenging to use men based themes. Certainly gave my mojo a kick start. Here's hoping it stays with me for a while.

Hope you all had a great, creative weekend and look forward to checking in on your blogs.

Ciao for now.



Many thanks are due my dear friend Kate of The Kathryn Wheel for sharing the “Friendly Blogger” award with me this week. Art and blogging in and of themselves are wonderful fun, but the greatest reward has been meeting and making new friends and acquaintances. I am one to curse technology (as I did five minutes ago), but the web and its little virtual currents have taken me to places that simply otherwise would not be possible, and for that I am grateful.

These are the guidelines that came with the badge: “These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these kind writers.” (I totally just lifted that word for word from Kate !!) Thus, in line with the rules, I nominate the following six to pass the badge on to:

Blandine of Miss Blandine
Anita of Make Time to Play
Stacey of ArtSnark’s Artifacts
Lynne of Gypsy Art
Dayna of Alley Art Studio, and
Ronna of Ronna’s Blog and the editor of ATC Quarterly.

Diana of Live Your Dreams was already nominated by Kate and I second the motion. Thanks to each of these inspiring souls for their encouragement and selfless sharing of their talents.

Ciao for now.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I've been in such a slump lately, I truly wondered if I'd ever do another ATC. So to force myself to flex my creative muscle, I joined a swap in one of my ATC groups. Swaps make me a bit fidgety because I feel pressured to come up with something a bit more than ordinary. And then there are the deadlines. When your creative well has hit a serious dry spell, a looming deadline can either send you over the edge or spur you on. For tonight, at least, the latter holds. Lo and behold, I actually managed to get a card done and I am pleased with the results.

The swap theme centers on men. Interesting challenge, given that we tend to use images of women in a vast majority of our work. Each participant chooses four titles on which to base their cards. You know . . . doctor, lawyer, Indian chief. That sort of thing. Kudos to the swap hostess. She is very, very creative with the titles. One of my four is "U.S. President". Abraham Lincoln is such an interesting historical figure and there is an abundance of images of him available. Thus, it was an easy choice for me. Fortunately, the construction of the card fell together rather easily. Thank goodness.

The background is a collage of vintage ledger paper, hand rusted paper and a strip of star-printed mulberry paper. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I use these a lot. I am a grab-and-go kind of gal. Use what is on hand, and those elements seem to be regulars in my stockpile. The woven square in the upper right hand corner is a bit of book binding mull (I may have the name incorrect), topped with some bits of acrylic skins, a tiny scrap of more vintage ledger paper, and a scrap of muslin. Three pieces of mica were overlayed and attached with hand rusted wire along the edges. The wiring was fun, but I now may need a tetanus shot. I chose the word "legacy" to demonstrate the unparalleled contribution Lincoln made to our history. With great deliberation and foresight, he saved a country and freed a people. And he did it with great humility and reflection. Lincoln was truly a man of character.

Now I must gather my supplies and carry on with the other three cards. If I have any success, I'll be sure to share the results.

Hope you have all had a great week so far and are finding some time for art !!!

Ciao for now,


Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Hello fellow bloggers. It's been awhile since I posted, and even a longer while since I've created anything from start to finish, but I thought a check-in was in order. All work and no play, I am, and that has totally stifled my creative urge. I pulled out the acrylics and spread some paint around tonight just to keep in practice. Nice to play around without fussing about the results. I started another piece this weekend and have a good bit more work to do on it, so hopefully soon I will have something to share. For now, I unearthed an older ATC sized collage made of remnants and odd pieces that accumulate from my trimmings and scraps. A simple silhouette.

Thanks so much to everyone who has shown interest in the Past Portraits Flickr group. It is great to share with you all and so exciting to see what you do with the cabinet cards. Some really fabulous work has been posted to the group. Take a look if you have a minute.

Also, I want to say a very, very belated thank you to Stacey at ArtSnark's Artifacts for granting me a blog award. It is very rewarding to know that my humble little dabblings strike a chord of interest. Please visit Stacey's blog here and enjoy her inspiring work.

Ciao for now.


Sunday, February 1, 2009


I recently bought a large lot of cabinet cards from that well known monstrous, on-line auction site. (No plug this time.) After looking through them all and finally deciding on a workable storage solution, I realized there is no way that I will find a use for each and every picture in one lifetime. Hence, I decided to post them to a Flickr group, so that members of the group can use the images in their art. There are a number of portraits of men, which are sometimes hard to find. And the quality of the images was surprisingly good. Buying items blind in a lot usually results in quite a few discards, but I was pleased with the condition of the majority of the photos. The mounting boards/folios/backings, whatever the proper term, are quite interesting, too. Those of you adept at Photoshop may find the embossed matboards make for interesting brushes. I dunno. You tell me. Or show me. That would be great. It's what I am hoping for. Lots of cool stuff created with vintage images.

Join "Past Portraits", my new Flickr group, to access the photos for download and use. The link is here. The group is by invite only, so if you are interested, post a comment here or send a Flickr e-mail and the invite will go out to you promptly.

Ciao for now.


Sunday, January 18, 2009


Blogland is full of creative little games and riddles. This one caught my interest. Go to the "Pictures" file of your hard drive. Choose the sixth folder. Now, open the folder and choose the sixth picture from that folder. The picture that comes up is the one you are to post. Pretty neat little idea, especially since it doesn't involve recruiting anyone else. More or less a one man show-and-tell.

This is a photo I took on a tour of the La Paz Waterfall Gardens in Costa Rica. There are bridges and paths everywhere. The texture and color of the stone stopped me in my tracks. I cannot remember how old the photo is . . . no more than two or three years. Costa Rica is a nature lovers paradise. The rich, vibrant colors of the foliage, cloud forests and rain forests will take your breath away. La Paz is a sanctuary in a protected area of rain forest. You get close enough to the waterfalls to feel spray on your face. And the moist, verdant atmosphere penetrates your senses and leaves you feeling like you've been kissed by something otherworldly. A walk with nature refreshes your soul and reminds you that there are things much bigger than yourself in this world.

I tried to find a poem that I thought would fit the tone and feel of the photo. A couple seemed like contenders, but just weren't quite right. If any of you know of a poem or addage that may suit or complement the photo, feel free to post it in a comment.

Ciao for now,


Saturday, January 10, 2009


Someone moved my mojo. It's been missing for a while. Holidays, travel, work. Art and crafting took a back seat. But I think I see a hint of it returning. On my way down the hall tonight, when I should have been getting ready to turn in, I took a detour. And something developed. Grabbing a handful of paper and sitting down at the sewing machine has that effect. Admittedly, this is a total cheater piece. It is very similar to my last piece, but hey, isn't that what developing style is all about ?? Honestly, I figured if I tried a similar technique, the creative engine may fire up. Gotta try something to get back in the groove. Two hours later (mmmn . . . maybe that is a conservative estimate), "Once Was" was born.

I took a few odd pieces of joss paper and a snippet of gesso brushed Chinese text and arranged it as shown. Joss paper is readily available in Asian supermarkets. Do NOT pay those exorbitant prices for the stuff through these boutique sites. It is super, super cheap and sold by the packages in the Asian markets. So if you live near one, be adventurous. Go in and cruise the aisles. There is tons of the stuff and you should not pay more than $2.00 or $3.00 for a large package of papers. Great variety, too. Just thought I'd share that tidbit of info.

Back to business. Given the materials in hand thus far, one would think it would have worked itself into an Asian themed piece. That is the great thing about mixed media. No rules and you can mix and match until your heart is content. Like handpicking a one pound box of chocolates at Godiva. I had a scrap piece of what I though was silk material sitting around for ages. A sample I picked up at a fabric store. Nice conservative, dimensional floral pattern to it. I am not one for florals, or polka dots for that matter, but this bit of fabric had eye appeal. Matched it to the papers, did some stitching and decided to work with another Crafty Individuals contact paper transfer.

That accomplished, the piece needed some finishing touches. A scrap of vintage sheet music and pieces of deconstructed lace were added with stitching. The finished product is totally asymmetrical, but all said it balanced out nonetheless. One thing I would do over if I had the chance: the burned surfaces of the fabric flowers. Turns out it is polyester or some other synthetic, and the material didn't singe the way I'd hoped. The edges sort of melted and look a little sooty. Fortunately, I caught on to this early and used a light touch. So the piece wasn't ruined by my pyro tendencies. Live and learn. Gave some thought to backing the piece on decorative mat board or a book cover. Tried it out on various backgrounds. Nothing jumped out at me, so I left it as a stand alone piece. Completed. Mission accomplished. Mojo found.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and that your new year is off to a great and creative start !! Happy 2009 !!

Ciao for now.


P.S. Submitted for Wednesday Stamper challenge, "Lace".