About Me

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I am a multifaceted woman, living with intention and passion. I always see the glass as half full (ok, almost always). Currently into: jewelry design, glass beadmaking (aka lampworking), visual journaling, cooking and web design everything. Things that bring me great joy: my family, friends, Scrabble, British period pieces, Shabby Chic, Austin, TX, mini art tiles, autographed cookbooks, chocolate, Chianti, pedicures and beach glass. I don't "do" and/or dig: dishonesty, guilt, intolerance, unkindness, drama and goat cheese (it's a long story, but I love all the other cheeses!) So you now have a teeny tiny little picture of me, with a few warts thrown in. Welcome to my world!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Blackeye Pea Salad and Family Reunions

I love family reunions, a chance to see all my relatives and catch up and of course eat wonderful food. My aunt and uncle from Texas are visiting and another aunt and uncle are having everyone over for a summer garden party. I decided to make a couple dishes to take. One is the Blackeye Pea Salad pictured. It has blackeye peas, white corn kernals, mandarin oranges, roma tomatoes, green scallions, fresh garlic and a vinaigrette of olive oil and a lovely balsamic. A bit of salt and pepper too and viola, a bright, festive and delicious cold salad. I also made a couple of the fresh fruit dessert pizzas. But instead of just strawberries, it will have fresh raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries. I love the topping of cream cheese and marshmallow fluff, I could eat the whole bowl with a spoon! I'll have more photos of all the other goodies and my aunt and uncle's lovely garden later...I just hope I remember to take some, I forgot to take photos of the wonderful
Vietnamese food we had last night, and I took my camera into the restaurant!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Project Updates and New Beads

     I am working on the second phase of my upcycled art supply train case. The paint is dry and I've been adding the collage elements. A couple borders and images that I like, including photos of my four kids on the lid. I think I'll add another border to the edge of the lid, above the silver toned metal border. I've also stamped the words "Art Goodies" on top and plan on stamping and writing a lot more words onto the case. I would like to add some shading to the collage, but haven't decided what would be best. It will all need to be sealed at some point too.
Any suggestions for the sealing compound would be appreciated. I will start painting the new "used" train case today, I'm thinking it would be lovely in a bold shade of pink or bright lime green with a theme of food and cooking, including a couple of recipes for real and imagined goodies. I might even be able to add some food or kitchen type charms to it. Maybe a couple of my glass food beads, like a cupcake or ice cream sundae?

     Another project I am in the middle of is repainting a pair of worn Dansko shoes. I love these shoes, they are so comfy and supportive. As someone who has to deal with Plantar Fascitis, I have to wear good shoes as often as possible and of course the good shoes are always the most expensive! So I wanted to extend the life of this particular pair of shoes. They were originally a dark burgundy/wine color. I love the blue of
the train case so much that I decided the shoes wanted to be blue too. I cleaned them with alcohol first to remove what was left of the finish. Then I painted them with two coats of the blue acrylic paint over the next few days. Most recently, I added black stitches with permanent marker. I'm still deciding what to do for my next step. I want to draw some faces on them and then add some glitz like rhinestones...we'll see.

     And finally, after over 6 months, or 7 or 8, I've sparked up my torch and made a few beads. It was great to melt some glass again, but after I made a few beads, my mind went blank and I couldn't think of a thing to make! I was overwhelmed with all the possibilities and just froze, it was not a good feeling. So I decided to run the kiln with what I had already made and just call it a night. I did have one of them crack, I let it cool too much before putting it into the kiln to anneal. But it will be a gorgeous piece for a mosaic! Always a silver lining...

A drive by posting...

Just wanted to post a quick link to another blogger's post that I read today. It is about Etsy and copying. A really good read I think, check it out if you have issues or fears about being copied or about copying... Little Bit Funky: Being shown your own ugly

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More books...

This is a continuation of another post about books I have and books I wish I had. I'm still working on listing the books I have, so probably won't get around to books I want until later.

"Found Art Mosaics" is wonderful for anyone who wants to try creating a mosaic. Besides having excellent projects to get you started with great instructions, this book explains what kinds of glues and grouts to use depending on the materials and surface you are playing with! That alone is worth the price and then some. I actually saw this artist's work in Fredericksburg, TX last year, it is amazing and inspiring. You'll never look at a piece of broken anything the same way!

Another book I have is "Crafty Chica's Art de la Soul: Glittery Ideas to Liven Up Your Life," by Kathy Cano Murillo. This is also a fun book with great projects and ideas to get you thinking outside the box. She also tells some stories with each project that are full of insights, some funny, some touching. There is also a lot of Mexican and South American feel to the projects, very colorful.

Also part of my library is "Subversive Seamster: Transform Thrift Store Threads Into Street Couture," by Melissa Alvarado, Hope Meng and Melissa Rannels. My kids and I love to hit thrift shops, resale shops and garage sales, so this book is really useful. Again, you will look at ordinary pieces of clothing in a whole different way. One of my favorite projects is creating a wrist cuff bracelet from purses that have interesting closures.

     And I own several of Rachael Ashwell's "Shabby Chic" books. I love that particular style of decorating, worn elegance, pretty and comforting.
When we lived in Texas, there was a wonderful antique show in Round Top. I went a couple times, since it was an annual event. The antique show lasted several days, maybe even a full week. This little town, really little, was overrun with giant tents, like a circus had come to town, only there were several circuses. Different farmers rented out their fields and you just parked and walked, and walked. You couldn't see it all in one day. But there were so many treasures, I just loved it. Shabby Chic is big in Texas so lots of the vendors had things already finished in that style. Pieces of old furniture, stools and lamps, painted in pale or washed out colors and then gently distressed. I still love it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oil Spill and Graduation

Here are two more visual journal pages I've been working on lately. One about my daughter's high school graduation, full of happiness and celebration. I used her photo for the face too. She faced a lot of struggles over the last few years and overcame issues with depression and anxiety to finish high school, we are so proud of her.

The other page is about the horrendous oil gushing out into the Gulf of Mexico. It makes me ill to think about how much of the ocean's ecosystem is being destroyed by carelessness and the worship of the almighty dollar by a few in a position to make decisions that can affect all of us. I called this page "Yuck!"

Finally, we made our Strawberry Dessert Pizza last night. It was a team effort. My son made the sugar cookie dough from scratch(instead of using the refrigerated roll from the market), I spread it out into the cookie sheet and pressed it in well and baked it. My husband made the topping and also washed and sliced all the strawberries we had picked. Then my youngest daughter helped him to cover the whole thing nicely with the sliced up berries. It was absolutely delicious and everyone enjoyed it and had seconds!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Strawberry Patch

Here is my new Summertime Strawberries patch created with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Just a little fun to keep me from losing my Illustrator beginner skills. Processed lots of strawberries and made 12 jars of freezer jam. The kitchen smelled heavenly, full of that fresh summer strawberry fragrance. All  but one jar in the freezer now, can't wait to try it tomorrow morning. Up later than I should be, caffeine is always a mistake for me, what was I thinking? That I had developed immunity? Ha, lol...still keeps me up. Catching up on blogs I like to read...wheee!

Monday, June 14, 2010


     Started the day off early with a trip to the pool. Sixteen laps later I was ready to get the kids and head out to pick our first strawberries of the season. We went out to Guntzvillers, a wonderful U-pick farm in Elk Rapids. We go every year for strawberries, raspberries(red, black and white) and blackberries. Local June strawberries always taste like summer to me, if summer had a flavor. They are sweet and the flavor is so much more intense than anything available frozen or imported from out of the area. Next up is some strawberry freezer jam and strawberry dessert pizza. The dessert pizza is simply a sugar cookie crust, you can use store bought, but I'm making homemade, spread out on a jelly roll pan or pizza pan, baked, cooled and then you mix some marshmallow fluff, vanilla and cream cheese till smooth and spread onto the baked cookie "crust." Finally you spread sliced strawberries all over the topping and viola!  I guess I need to make a Strawberry patch/badge very soon.

I also picked up a new train case to upcycle for more art supply storage. This one is a Samsonite, longer than the blue one and an unattractive shade of brown. I like brown, but for an art supply case, it just doesn't work for me. I need some color, fun and sparkly stuff!!! Photos later, after the blue case is finished. Did I mention I'm jazzing up an old pair of Dansko shoes too? Photos of those later as well. Ok, time to go make something...what are You doing?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pomp and Circumstance

     What is it about "Pomp and Circumstance," that makes me cry? As soon as I hear the first opening notes, I feel my chest tighten and tears form, it hits a certain emotional cord and I can't hold back. My daughter Tess graduated yesterday and it was a wonderful day. We got there early and had the chance to find good seats, unlike two years ago when my son graduated and we had to sit waaay back. The pride you feel when one of your children reaches such a big milestone in their lives is tremendous, it just fills you up and makes you feel like puffing out, lol, like a feathered bird of some kind. And then we too some photos and went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Trattoria Stella, before dropping our graduate off at an open house and then the senior party. It was quite a day and we are so proud and happy to have two of our four children through high school! Can I get an "Amen?"