Hello Summer!


Summer Waves on the Beach, a mixed media postcard using gelli-plated and decorated deli paper, lace, painted cardstock and a sand dollar stamp.

Hot weather has hit us here in Michigan. Some of my friends revel in the heat, I just sit and swelter; gripe and complain. I may just drive over to Saugatuck this weekend, by Lake Michigan to feel the cooler breezes and get away from the hot air.

Posted in art, painting, printmaking, summer | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Stencil Time

Stencils have come a long way since the 70’s. At that time they were mainly used on walls and furniture. At some point, using stencils as wall decor became rather – well- tacky.

Who was the artist that decided that stencils could be used in art – either as a layered background or a focal point?

I was never that interested in stencils when I first began dabbling in mixed media art. I collected a few stencils here and there,  but my interest really took off  when I got my first gelli plate a few years ago Now, I am crazy about my stenciling and probably own WAYYY too many, but I really can’t live without them.

So….I thought I would present a few past and current projects showing off some of my favorite stencil projects.

Peacock Sneakers

IMG_20170613_202320In cleaning out my closet recently, I came across this pair of  very white sneakers. They were just begging to be painted – so I did! Then after I painted the shoes, I painted the laces as well. I used lots of layers: blue and purple fabric spray paint, inexpensive acrylic paint in metallic gold, green and pink,  a few stamps and stencils….

.IMG_20170614_201018 IMG_20170614_200943 IMG_20170614_200706

  These are Balzer Design stencils from The Crafter’s Workshop.

IMG_20170613_134837289_HDRcloseup view

IMG_20170613_195606Trying them out for the first time (It’s true, I do have very big feet – it is not an illusion!)

Metal Embossed Box


A few years ago, I took a metal embossing class and really loved the process. This particular piece started out with some metal house flashing, a stencil from Stencil Girl, copper tape, iris blue gilder’s paste and a few metal embossing tools.


The stencil used to create the lid of the box. I would really love to work on more projects like this  – metal work fascinates me.

Sunset art journal page

IMG_20170611_175544                                                     This is how the page started  

IMG_20170613_201809                                        And how it looked when finished.

After applying a pink and yellow background using homemade water-color sprays, I stenciled half the page with a blue, then flipped it over for a reverse image on the bottom half. I brushed on a little matte medium to help protect the background , some gelatos. and gold Wink of Stella for a shiny sun.


Another Balzer Design from The Crafter’s Workshop. Do you get feeling that I really like Balzer Design stencils?

Rose coffee table-bench


IMG_20170614_235434554Charlie decided that he wanted to be in the picture as well. Such a diva!

I decided to  use an old bench for a coffee table in my living space and found this lovely rose stencil to use as an embellishment at either end. The stencil, from a company called Show-Offs uses a fine mesh for the open parts of the design, much like a silkscreen.


You can see in this close-up how the mesh creates a silkscreen-like stencil. Pretty cool!


Of course I have tons of other projects using stencils. These are just a few that I have been working on lately, or stand out as something kind of special to me.

Posted in art journaling, crafts, fabric craft, metalwork, painting, stencils | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Chinese New Year

I stopped in to pick  up some Chinese takeout yesterday, only to find the restaurant packed with people –  a crowd at the door, either waiting for a table or, like me, waiting for their takeout order. I had forgotten that it was Chinese New Year.

I decided to celebrate in my own way (besides the food) by making a decorative paper lantern in honor of the occasion.

First, I picked out some decorative paper from my extensive collection.


and cut it down to about 41/2 – 5 inches high and 12 inches long. This was an impromptu craft so I was just estimating the size.


The lantern would be a diamond shape so the paper was folded out in the center “mountain” with 2 “valley folds” at either end.


I needed something for the light to shine through, so I die cut 2 filigree strips and backed them with vellum.


The tricky part was to cut a strip in the center of the outer and inner parts of the lantern and glue the vellum strips . But, after a lot of finagling, I finally got it all together. The vellum strips were safely sandwiched between the outer and inner sections.

I glued the two short ends together to create the squared shape so it would stand on its own. I may still add some embellishments to it, as it still seems a little plain, but I like the finished product. I added a flickering light in the middle (sorry, real candles make me a little nervous that close to paper) and sat back to view the effect.


Happy Chinese New Year!

Posted in art, crafts, holiday, New Years, paper art | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Dreaming of Spring – an Art Journal

I live in Michigan. I love living here and love experiencing all four seasons. I admit to getting tired of the summer heat by August, and we never have enough spring for my liking and am usually heartily sick of the cold of winter by February.  This year seems different. It’s only the first week of January and I am already dreaming of spring.

So I got out an art journal that I finished up last year to look through it and remind myself what spring was all about.















I own a lot of art journals – some handmade, other store-bought.  This is the first one I’ve actually completed and it was fun to go thru it again and dream of spring.

Posted in art, art journaling, biographical, Michigan, nature, spring | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Goodbye 2016 – Hello 2017

With the new year, comes the hope of a better tomorrow. My own personal hope is to find balance and patience for any difficulties that lay ahead.

Happy New Year to all my Friends and Family…



January calendar layouts from some previous years.


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More Altered Books -Women and Wisdom

I’m finally going to show off my favorite altered book page created for the round robin in which I participated. You can see some of the other pages that I made for the different themed books here, here , and here.

Rose Ann brought in a cookbook to alter, her theme being  Women, Wisdom and Recipes for Friendship. Every now and then, throughout the book were partial pages cut in half circles. As soon as I saw those pages I immediately knew I had to make some sort of a layout using the round shape as a fan. I couldn’t wait to get the book.

Here is the page layout completed:

img_20160201_100220.jpgthe left side of the page with the completed “fan”. img_20160201_100417.jpgThe left side without the fan. img_20160201_100318.jpg The right side of the page with the “fan” in place. img_20160201_100052.jpg The right side of the page without the fan.

I knew that the fan could be flipped back and forth from one side of the page to the other, and that there would be 2 ladies on either side, taking turns at hiding  behind the fan. That is as far as it went for about 2 weeks. Then came the flurry of a brainstorm – I would use old Japanese geisha prints and they would  flirt from behind the fan. It took a while, but I finally finally found 2 ladies with a similar look (probably by the same artist)  and printed them off.

They were cut out and glued on to a scrapbook page with a bamboo-like design on it.  I really liked that the figures were big enough to go beyond the limitations of the book and  off the top of the page. The fans were created with napkins , the slats or spines of the fan made by painting craft sticks and gluing them down. I carved a stamp to look like an Asian signature seal called a chop loosely using my initials (stamped in red). The quote I used was from “The Pillow Book”  written by Sei Shonagon, a lady of the Japanese court who lived in the eleventh century. I finished it all off with a small red tassel hanging off the bottom of the fan.



So this is how I tend to work, In half-planned sort of way. I have an idea, or at least a semi idea. I can picture in my head how I want it to look but I really don’t have a clue on how to execute the idea and make it happen. From then on I just play around until it all comes together. It always seems to work out in the end.


Posted in altered books, art, book crafts, crafts, hand carved stamps, round robin | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Gifts of Christmas Past

I feel so lucky to belong to 2 different art groups – both with very generous, supportive artists that I can call my friends. The ages, life experiences and skill levels of these women vary greatly but we enjoy getting together once a month to show what we are working on, fulfill a challenge or learn a new craft.  There are times where all we do is laugh and talk and eat. We’ve helped each other through sickness and health, happy and sad times. I’ve learned so much from them and they have helped me in my quest to become a better artist.

Every Christmas we have a gift exchange. The main rule is that it must be handmade. I have been able to dig up photos of almost all the gifts that I have made for the various members over the years; so I thought that it would be fun to reminisce about them in today’s post.

img_20161215_092846.jpgThis year’s Christmas gift to Beth was a paper cut shadow box. I had never made one before but studied pictures and You Tube postings and it worked out pretty well. My only problem was not planning enough space so I wasn’t able to light the display from behind and make it into a lightbox as well. Beth loves vintage campers so I added a bit of color on the cutout camper, along with some stickle icicles and a wreath on the door. Even without the back lighting, I think it turned out well.

img_20151208_121659.jpgI made an earlier version of a diorama 2 years earlier for Cathwren, using plaster bandage wrap to cover a handmade box and to clump along the bottom of the box to create snow. I added a miniature fence, wreath, tree and cardinal into the scene, as well as some snowflakes and a label with a seasonal sentiment. I did a little distressing, added a little blue acrylic paint and glued on metal feet so it could stand.





Lynn received a set of matchbox ornaments that I had a lot of fun making. I found some plain white matchboxes at Hobby Lobby, then carefully took the lid apart so to punch a hole in the cover. I glued it back together and got the glitter treatment on the outside. Old, vintage christmas cards, were miniturized and glued inside as part of the background. Then the main figures were  cut out again,  and glued with pop up glue dots to give them dimension. Some of the cards didn’t have enough background to cover the whole inside so I added Christmas washi tape instead. A little thread loop at the top and some danglies at the bottom and they were ready for wrapping.



I had a difficult time trying to decide what to make for Rhea’s gift. Like most of my art friends,  Rhea dabbles in a lot of different crafts but she seems to have a real flair with assemblage. I decided to make some fancy paper feathers using a heavy white scrap paper printed with white designs. White on white… A few of them got the glitter treatment to make them even fancier. I figured that she could use them in one of her assemblage pieces. They turned out better that I expected;  the white on white look was very classy and elegant.


Chris received a wreath from me; simply made from a wreath form, old book pages, some strong tea and a hot glue gun. I cut the leaf shapes free-handed (no pattern), soaked them in a tea solution to age them and glued them on to the wreath form. Even though it was simple to make it really did take a long time to arrange and glue down all those leaves. It ended up looking so nice that I made another one for my sister.



The very first year I participated in the gift exchange, I made an Asian influenced lantern for Lori.  I used 3 types of handmade paper, skewers,some embossed brass vintaj shapes and cord (the gold braided cord was unraveled to create a loose feathery look). The lantern was a little wobbly all-in-all but not too bad a try for someone new to paper crafts and mixed media.



I ended up making gifts for Brit on 3 different years. The copper-worked box (above) was made last year and I finished it so late that I ended up taking a photo of the outside and inside cover at the restaurant where we partied just so I could have a record of the work. The photos came out a little blurred. The box, when I bought it, had a mirror in the center. I removed the mirror and created 2 copper-embossed plates. The outside cover was an image of a fanciful cat (Brit loves cats) and the inside cover had the initial B. The box is designed so that if she wants to switch the covers around, she can. I aged the metal with Jax patina, then burnished the top so the patina was left in the debossed areas.


An earlier gift given to Brit was a decorated cigar box, using metal duct tape  and a variety of metal-working tools in order to give it an industrial, steampunk look. The cover included chipboard letters, a couple of  different kinds of needlepoint canvas, copper foil tape, a vintage photo, a few cogs and black acrylic paint to age the duct tape. The inside was embellished with more Victorian beauties, copper foil tape, an old key and distressed scrapbook paper. I tore a few holes in the paper and glued down some old book pages underneath to age it even more.



The first gift I made for Brit was a pencil/marker pouch using about 6 plastic grocery bags ironed together to create a durable plastic fabric. I painted the inside of the outermost layer and added snippets of colored plastic  within the layers before ironing. Once the bags were all fused together, it was a simple matter to sew the pouch. There were also enough leftovers to create a brooch.

I think that you can tell by looking at these different gifts made over several years, that I like to explore and try new things; and that I have the most awesome friends that really challenge me,  stretch my skills and help me to grow as an artist. Their encouragement and positive feedback motivates me to do my very best. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

As Tiny Tim would say:”God bless us, every one!”

Posted in book crafts, christmas, crafts, holiday, ornaments, paper art, steampunk | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments