Art Reboot

powerbuttonI feel like my art brain just went blank sort of like when I got the blue screen of death on my laptop a while ago. Blank, totally blank. This has gone on now for about 6 weeks. I think it started when I cleaned my desk which is in my living room. I admit it has been nice to walk in the door and see more order, but, I miss painting. I just can’t get started. I have never had this happen before without a really good reason, like some ginormous life event that kept me too busy or distracted. I know it’s Christmas and I had decorating to do, shopping to do, and parties to attend. Honestly though, I don’t think that is the reason. I just need a muse boost or a reboot.

When my computer breaks, I consult my techie guru and get help. I decided I needed to consult some of my art gurus, the people whose blogs and websites are where I go to oooh and aaah over their art.  I have gifted myself with some of their luscious, lovely art classes. I can play with other artists and try some new techniques. The focus for me is going to be the play. I need to let my art be for fun and just happen. I am excited to start again.  My Christmas list to the DH (dear husband) was art books and supplies I need to play with.

I thought I would share the classes I have signed up for and encourage anyone in a slump to gift yourself an art reboot too. I hope to see you on the class Facebook and Flickr pages so we can cheer each other on. Let me know if you want to play.

Here is my REBOOT class list!!

Lifebook 2013Lifebook 2013 – This is a yearlong mixed-media art adventure with Tam Laport at She has twelve lovely art teachers including some of my very favorites including Melody Ross, Christy Tomlinson, Mindi Lacefield, Danita and Effy Wild.


True Free Spirit ClassTrue Free Spirit – This class, offered by Mindi Lacefield at , is going to be a year of playing and exploring. I love this girl’s work. I am so excited to watch her create and learn from her playful spirit.

Since those two big classes don’t start until January 2013, I signed up for a small class I can start now….


Letter LoveLetter Love 101 – This is taught by Joanne Sharp at I really want to learn how to improve my handwriting for art purposes. This class is full of ideas and information. I am letter loving it so far.


Dia de los Muertos

Close up of Sugar Skull art journal pageI love fall – the colors are my colors, the cooler weather finally comes, my birthday happens and the holidays truly begin with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The time for family and being together and celebrating really starts when the weather breaks. There is one more holiday in the fall that is lesser known in the United States – Dia de los Muertos. Day of the Dead. This holiday gets a bad rep because it sounds morbid and is typically celebrated with dancing skulls dressed like mariachi’s and hat dancing ladies. However, this holiday is really about celebrating and honoring those we love that have passed. It is a day to remember them and tell their stories to our children and friends. It is a day to celebrate the lives of our loved ones.

This fall, along with stitching pumpkin table runners out of luscious hand dyed wool and deciding what creepy or silly costumes we will wear for Trick or Treating, I have made an art journal page. I painted a sugar skull to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. Sugar skulls are a favorite candy in Mexico for this holiday. They are everywhere. I thought it would be fun to paint one and spend that time remembering my family members that are gone. As I painted, I thought about their smiling faces, the way they laughed, jokes we shared and all the wonderful times we shared. It was an artful way to honor them and celebrate their lives. It was a great way to take some time to remember how lucky I was to have them in my life.

Dia de los Muertos - Day of the Dead

I was inspired by Effy on Wild Soul Arts. She made a free video showing her technique for making a sugar skull art journal page spread. If you would like to paint or stitch a sugar skull, there is a free template available online at

I used neocolors, acrylics, ink, rubber stamps and gesso to create this sweetie. Enjoy the day, honor your people and celebrate life!

Be your wonderful self

Your Wonderful Self Journal PageThere are times in life when we get so overwhelmed that we forget to take care of ourselves and take time to simply be. We can easily get distracted by projects at work or school or even by joyful events like a new baby or a new love. Eventually, our soul reaches a place where it feels off and we need to recenter.

My lovely daughter Amber is off at college. We did not get into the nitty gritty details of what’s going on with her college life but it sort of sounded like she needed to take some time to just be her wonderful self. So, that was all I said that day we texted and spoke. I am learning to be empathetic and listen, not to judge or try to solve her problems. She is grown and I’m still learning how to be the best parent I can be. I still have my son at home and we have several years of practice ahead.

Close up of Wonderful Self BunnyThe next day I checked in with her. I needed to hear her voice and so we talked about the weather finally cooling off and how much we love fall. She felt better that day and had taken some time for herself. I emailed her a copy of my journal page inspired by her. We are both arty and our art is a huge bond between us. She told me on her last visit home that she was so grateful to have been raised in an artistic home. So now, I have my journal to remember the day and she has a copy to remember to take time to be her wonderful self.

Arty binding technique

I confess that I am wandering a lot these days. I am wandering into Art Journals and Art Quilts. Next week, a group of ladies and I are starting up a new Art Quilt mini group. I’m beyond excited to start.  I’ve started a Pinterest board to collect some inspiration and have been looking through blogs to find information on new techniques I want to learn.

In my wanderings, I found this very clever binding technique that will be perfect for the new art quilts I am ready to jump into. This would be perfect for the post card quilts, mini quilts and might even work on some wearable quilt pieces. The uses are endless. Carol Ann Waugh states that she has even used this on very large art quilts. I will try it out and post my results.

Give it a view and let me know how you do!!


National Nonstop Journaling MonthDon’t you love this silly name?? It stands for National Nonstop Journaling Month!

Each day during November, Dawn D. Sokol will post a one word journaling prompt to inspire you to do some art journaling. This is just an inspiration project. What you make and how big you make it is up to you.  I understand there will be a general theme posted prior to the beginning. I think it will be fun to have a little nudge for inspiration so I’m signing up to follow along.

Follow my blog if you want to see what I create. I hope you join in the fun too.

To follow Dawn, go to her website at and follow her to get the prompts. To check out her full description of Nanojoumo, read her blog post here.

Blooming my own way

My collage from week 1 of Brave Girls Art School
My collage from week 1 of Brave Girls Art School

I am learning to let the flowers in my art be funky and bright.  In my Brave Girls Art Class, we are making art from our souls. We are just letting go and playing and making imperfect, fun and fabulous art. It is such a blast and such an honor to share this class with an amazing group. We are learning art techniques and so much more from the incomparable Melody Ross and her team. Brave Girls Art Class is about more than just the art. It is about being okay with yourself and where you are and deciding what you want in your life. That’s what Brave Girls do.

I’m well on my path to the Brave life that I really want. I learn something every day.  I am looking for what’s right and good in my life.  I am nurturing my arty soul and blooming my own way.

Close up of textured flowers

Binding with Love

Whootie For AxelMy niece, Rebecca, is having her baby shower next week. We are all so excited for her and we can’t wait to hold little Axel. I love that we live in an age where we can see the baby even before he is born. I really, really love walking through the baby aisles and looking at all the new products available to new moms these days.  The products are all cool but I am a practical woman. I chose the more practical items I thought she would need. I added a copy of the book “I Am Water” that we read to our daughter. And, of course, I made a quilt to welcome Axel to the family. I am a quilter. That’s what I do.

So, today I am stitching the binding onto Axel’s quilt. I am enjoying the final moments of thinking about Rebecca and how we have watched her grow to be a fine young woman. I am thinking about how lucky we are as a family to have a new life, a new baby added to our family tree.  As I finish stitching, I am ready to send on my gift bound up with love.

My Etsy Store is OPEN

My Etsy Store is finally open! I am so humbled by this huge big leap. I am excited, nervous and mostly feeling like I have made a major milestone in my artwork. This is brave stuff. Putting your artwork out to the world takes big girl braveness.

Here is a link to my shop:

I would like to thank a few people for helping to make this possible. First, my family for their love, support and tolerance of an arty, messy home. Also, to my friends who have encouraged me to be brave enough to actually sell my artwork and for actually buying some as well. It gave me such a confidence boost. I would like to thank a few artists and teachers that have taught me so much and helped me to develop my art – Melody Ross, Christy Tomlinson, Junelle Jacobsen. You ladies totally rock!

Ok, now it’s time to get arty and get busy making some pieceful stuff. Woo hoo!!

Take Time to Whoot

Art Journal - Time to Whoot
My art journal page, Time to Whoot

We all need time to nourish our souls. We need to rest. We need to play and laugh. For years, I took care of everyone else. I did not take time for myself. My priority was always my family, my job, my home. I felt guilty if I took even a little time for myself. Eventually, I just forgot who the real me was. I burned out. Finally, a wise woman explained to me that I had to take care of myself so I would be able to take care of everyone and everything else. I was told to do something for myself, something small, every day. It was so hard. So, I started small. I think I did something crazy like buy a bottle of nail polish.

So – fast forward about 15 years. I am so much better at taking care of me now. I take trips with my girlfriends, I take time to make quilts and art, I read, I take art classes and take time to have lunch with my mom and sisters. My soul is so much happier. I have learned to laugh again.

My quilting group, The Nite Owl Whooters, went on a five day retreat. We stitched, we were silly, we talked and, best of all, we laughed. I came home feeling refreshed and ready to face my busy life. My spirit was renewed again and refueled with creative ideas. All of this because I took some time to Whoot with my friends.

So, take some time for yourself and go Whoot! Your spirit will thank you.

Dancing on a Fencepost

School’s back in session. This means I get to engage in the hustle and bustle of finding just the right colored pronged file folders, notebooks and all the other back-to-school paraphernalia. It also means we must pack up our lovely daughter and drive her back to her college campus. Amber is a sophomore this year studying architecture. She has a wonderful, natural artistic eye and is also good in math. She is so passionate about her field and we are so proud of her and thrilled that she has found her passion at such a young age.

We had a wonderful summer together and truly enjoyed having her with us. We knew we only got to borrow her for a few months so we all treasured our time together this summer. This year, driving her to school was a completely different experience. Last year, as a freshman, she was ready for us to drop off her belongings and drive away, leaving her to run off and jump into her much anticipated college experience. She grew up so much that first year. She learned to appreciate all we taught her so she could be successful as a student and living on her own. She gained a new appreciation for how to handle money and the value of a hard earned paycheck. She worked hard, made many friends and got the grades to earn another year of college. Woo hoo!

So, this year she knew what to expect. She is savvy at dorm life and has a group of friends. She is rested and ready to plunge into her sophomore year. We made the five hour drive to her college and unloaded her belongings. This time, we were invited to come in, stay and help unpack. Then, we went to lunch together, bought groceries and stopped at a pet store to help her pick out a new beta fish for her room. There was no rush to push us on our way. Once she was all unpacked and her whole room was ready, the texts began. Her friends were also ready. It was time for all good parents to take their leave.

We were less sad this year, knowing our sweet girl has learned to balance many new life experiences. She has learned to work hard and play hard. I’m sure she is having a blast in college but she also knows she must put in the hard work required to earn another year in college. College is an experience that teaches you balance. I picture her dancing on that fence with her arty flair and learning to stay balanced.