Saturday, August 25, 2007


I received two cd’s of photos from my mother’s surprise WEEK AT LAKE MICHIGAN for her 80th birthday in the mail today. My sweet brother, Randy, and my amazing sister, Joan, both professional photographers, took the pictures on the cd‘s.

There were 24 of us, “her relatives”, there to surprise her when she arrived…..we had come from Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan to be with her for her big birthday.

When the two cd's arrived in the mail today I ripped open the package and immediately went to my laptop to watch them both...............
not twice.............
but three times.

Yes, I watched both cd's three times in a row and I know that I will watch them both many, many more times over the next several days, weeks, months, and years.

I adored that trip and remember that when we drove up to the condo that the first person I hugged was my Uncle Bob, and that I started crying..............I was so relieved to be in the middle of my family with my baby, Clayman, and Frankie, my precious husband.

The previous 12 months have been very hard on me physically and I needed to be embraced by my family.

Is there anywhere sweeter than in the middle of one's family?
I think not.

Every picture on the two cd's elicited an emotion from me.
Some made me close my eyes momentarily and whisper to myself, "mmhhhhhhh".
Some made me recall a forgotten moment.
Some made me simply smile.
Some made me roll my eyes.............
Some made me grimace................
Some made me love that person more...........
Some made me wonder who was taking the pictures......
Some made me giggle.
Some made me so happy that family was reconnecting.
……..that one was for you, cuz.
Some made me realize that we were missing someone....
Craig, Blake, Barret, Aunt Leslie, Uncle Jimmy, Uncle Emil, Tyler, Jessica, Aunt Mary Beth, Aunt Marilyn....

Several of the pictures made me laugh out loud,
The golfing pictures of Uncle Bob's tall grass shot............
The shot of Eileen in front of the condo with her knee posed...........
Tanner having to tell mom that he was Tanner............
Y'all playing games late at night..............
Clay making sure his shirt was pulled down over his bum as Carly had him on the ground making the "loser" sign and losing it.................

Several made me cry,
Uncle Bob's expression as he sat at the table, chin on hand, waiting for mom to find him............
mom's expression as she saw all of the "Hancocks".
mom hugging Melinda............
mom hugging Marti...............
mom hugging Rosemary.................
mom hugging Uncle Bob............
mom hugging Eileen................
mom hugging Clay..........
realizing that mom didn't hug me..............
mom and Aunt Judy looking at each other at arm's length............
Uncle Bob and Marti looking out over Lake Michigan........

I'm completely switching out the photographs that line our hallway and everyone of my extended family will be represented in the new line-up.

And every time I walk down that hallway I will be reminded of how deeply I love each and every one of them.

I will be reminded of how important family is.
I will be reminded that blood doesn't always make family.
And I will be reminded of how blessed I am to have all of them as my family.

I love them all.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Last week I was so thrilled to be tapped by Mel with the "Nice Matters" award. One of the things that I strive for is to be nice and so receiving this award was very special to me! Some of you may not know anything about this award so I want to tell you what Genevieve, the gal who began this award says about it:"This award will be awarded to those that are just nice people, good blog friends and those that inspire good feelings and inspiration! Those that care about others that are there to lend support or those that are just a positive influence in our blogging world!" Isn't that wonderful? It's such a simple sentiment and yet extremely meaningful. One of the reasons I made the decision to start a blog *when I didn't think I could keep up with anything else* was to meet other artists, to make friends, exchange ideas, provide help for each other, market my art and share my life. I have not been disappointed - I have made good friends and enjoy everyone that takes the time to be a friend to me! Thank you!! As part of receiving this award I am to award it to five others who are nice, inspirational, you know....... the hard part is deciding on only five as my entire list is full of wonderfully nice friends! ........but this is the list I came up with..............

Keesha, my little ninjja
Twink, my sweet pen pal
Kathi, my initial blog inspiration
Dana, my sweet Michigander and last, but not least,
my friend with a "k"

Girls, just cut and paste the link below and you'll have your award....if for some reason that doesn't work, right click on the award on my blog, click on properties and then copy the url listed.....

That was hard..........if you want to visit some other amazing women's blog's, just check out the favorite's list on my blog!


I took the most fun, informative and fabulous jewelry class this last Wednesday!
It was a class to make a wonderful sterling silver link bracelet.
Actually the class was two separate parts.....the first class you made the bracelet and if you wanted to add the charms, you took the second class.

My favorite part of the first class was the clasp! Is it not the neatest thing???
And my favorite part of the second class was picking out my charms and crystals, learning how to wrap wire *correctly*, and learning all of the different fun things you can do with wire!

There were only two of us in the class so I got extra needed attention......Okay, I was still the last one to finish but just look at the treasure I made!
My favorite technique was done on the light blue round bead. You can't tell too clearly in my pictures, but that bead is suspended in wrapped wire - isn't that so cool???
I really loved everything about everything that I learned and my teacher, Shelli, is so patient with those that 'get frustrated'!
Shelli is the owner of The Garden of Beaden in Fredericksburg, Texas, and she has a class schedule on her website - check it out! Her classes are amazing and her shop is FABULOUS!!

I LOVE my bracelet and I'm going to make more to sell in my Etsy shop.....or maybe you should call me with your order...................if you read my previous post you saw how on top of things I am right now!

Have a fabulous day!!


Yes, what is an artist to do???
Can you think of one artist who would rather spend their time cleaning up their mess or who would rather be making the mess......
Well, dear friends, I have made the mess, it was fun and now, in the words of my sweet friend, Keesha, I have photographed it, flickr'd it, and now that I'm blogging it, I have to clean it up!

It's so easy for me to go from one project to the next without cleaning up my mess AND without finishing either project! I need to get myself re-organized.

So, what I've decided is that I need to do some rearranging of supplies AND............this is going to hurt me.....................

I really do need to get rid of some of my "supplies" it what you will, I need to trim the excess!

Ouch!!....But I will be better able to create if I do slim if you're in the area and want to help me, I'll pay you with "supplies"'s all good!

Thursday, August 16, 2007



Who knew???? I would never have imagined that Frank, my husband, would ever be in the zone. Boy howdy, did he ever surprise me today! Woohoo and thank you, Frankie!
He and some men from the church were going through the attic of a local business where things from the church had been stored forever. They were weeding out, cleaning out and deciding what to do with all of that "stuff"!
He called me and told me he had a really good surprise for me.....that I would love it.....
I must tell you, I couldn't let myself get too excited.....he's never been in the zone before, who would have thought that he had finally made it??!! LOL
This 'tree' measures 30" X 22" and has these Christmas lights falling off of the back of the board on which it's mounted. The lights at one time went through these holes and lit up the tree.

I've been a member at my church since 1994 and I've never laid eyes on this lovely so I can't tell you the history o how it made it's way to Kerr Produce's attic area! It may not even be from our church!
I just know that it was deemed for the trash bin and Frank rescued it knowing that there was a woman with just the right tools to pry all of the precious jewels off of the green corduroy backing! I am so excited to have these beautiful *to me* pieces of junk jewelry for my projects!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I started working on the charms for Art & Soul yesterday and am in the thick of things! I pulled out the rusty keys I bought for the base of the charm and cleaned off the rust flakes.
I'm making 100 charms as I need 50 for the charm swap I'm in and then extras for regular trades and I thought I would sell some of them on Etsy.
Let me explain the swap and trade for those of you who are not following me!....

There are 50 of us signed up for a charm trade at Art & Soul - that's pretty explanatory, I think. Then, every and anybody brings different kinds of art to trade with others that are attending the retreat. I'm going to use my charms as my piece of art.
Using rusty keys, I had to find a way to seal the rust to the keys so that it wouldn't rub off. I did this with a product called PYM *spray* which was recommended to me by a friend on one of the boards I belong to. OMG, it worked fabulously!! I lined them up outside and sprayed them, front and back. It was that simple!
Next I had to figure out a way to make my wee bitty tags that will be part of the charm. They measure 1" x 1/2" which is really small and i took me a bit of time to figure out how to make sheets of the tags and the picture that was going to go on the back of them. I stuck with it, however, and got that all wrapped up! I was so proud of myself!!

After printing everything I cut the tags and pictures out and am now ready to put them together and finish them up so I can move onto the next step of the charm.

I'm very excited about these charms as they are the first I've ever made, they're really different, and my mom's baby picture on the wee bitty tags make them so sweet that I know the charms will have a sweetness to them when they're finished.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I took a commissioned job to make a small album for a couple that had recently married.
They wanted to showcase a few of their favorite photos from their honeymoon and I was so happy to be asked to make their wee bitty album! I took a bit to think about it and as usual,
God directed me and I knew what to do!
I started out with large manila tags from the office supply store. First, I stained them with walnut stain and then I used a product by Moon Glow called Glitz Spritz to alter the color of the tags. Using two of their colors made a beautiful, shimmery layer of color on top of the walnutstain. After making copies of the original photos and manipulating them into the size and look that I wanted, I picked out papers, embellishments and ephemera that I "thought" I would use for the album *Isn't that the way it always is???? We THINK we know what we want to use but by the end of the project it's often completely different than what we imagined!*

This is the front cover of the album.
I love the color red and will often incorporate it into projects so I used red ribbons to bind the album and a tie string and round mailer clasps to keep it closed.

Below is the first layout.
I attached a little bitty sack with a pretty piece of cardstock on the left side for journaling.

The third layout. Note the shell with ribbons on the bottom right of the right side!

Layout four -I love rick-rack and was happy to find a way to use it in this layout.

Layout five is below.

The last layout has another way to journal with the brown kraft envelope on the right side. It has pattered cardstock in it for the couple to write a few sentences of their honeymoon memories.
The small "L-o-V-E" tags are free moving and it's fun to watch them slide around when the page is turned.

The back cover of the album.

I was very excited to work on this project and very pleased with the way it turned out!
.....Just a wee little keepsake for them to glance at whenever they think of their honeymoon.....


The proof is in the photos! Woohoo!
This all started with me making the HUGE decision to attend the Portland Art & Soul Retreat in October.....after having become BFF with Keesha in New Jersey and then us getting excited about both of us going to A & S and then we decide that we need to have matching anchor charms for the necklaces that we knew we would want to "buy" to put our charms on from the charm trade *which includes 50 people*............Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew.

Oh, it gets better.....first you must remember that I have signed up for this mega charm trade and I've never made a charm in my life. I'm a paper artist! Okay, so I'm sitting in Texas thinking, "hmmmmm, I need to make 50 charms.....greee-aaaaaaat". By this time I must have been feelin' the power, been in the zone, because I tell K. that since she's making our anchor charms, I'LL MAKE OUR NECKLACES.

But, like my son is so fond of saying, "It's all good" - I was BORN to make jewelry....that's what I've decided!
I ordered the wire, bought the tools, found a 'pattern' and look what I did - I made two necklaces......

....and I think they look mahvelous..........LOL
I'm moving on to bracelets.
I'm going to sell the necklaces on Etsy after the retreat, and the bracelets.
If, however, you're reading this post and you want to buy a necklace or bracelet before the middle of October, email me.
These necklaces are going to be finished off with a high grade black cording to go around the back of the neck.....they're going to look fabulous!
I'm really excited!! on to designing and making my charms.
Oh, my.....

Thursday, August 9, 2007


My friend, Tracy,, has just "rocked" my world by asking me to be a part of "ROCKIN' GIRL BLOGGERS" which, if I understand correctly, is a group of women bloggers that rock - makes sense.

Now that she has "rocked" me, I will be rocking five women bloggers whom I think have amazing blogspots,
and that would be:

Check out their blogs if you haven't already, they're fabulous!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


God just loves it when I make plans!......
I had started this canvas by painting it in preparation to make a piece for a friend's birthday present. And what you're looking at is THAT canvas but it is *now* a birthday present for my father's 80th birthday.
The colors worked beautifully so I simply added the ephemera, papers and stamps to make it "dad's".

I love how it turned out and I love that it will really surprise him when he receives it, but, I'm also very sad that for this to happen a relationship that I treasured has seemingly ended.
That's a long story and one not worth going into -
let's just be joyful that my father will reap an original piece of art from his eldest! Praise God!

My dad is like a lot of people.....he really appreciates what I do but he doesn't really get it............Take this for instance......I can picture the phone call that I'll get when he opens it. He's going to want to know who the people are along the right side of the canvas and I'm going to have to tell him that I don't know.............And why did I 'use masking tape to secure the photo of you kids???'.....

What a hoot! I am really happy with this piece and I am very pleased that a new painting technique that I used kind of worked. I bought a painting technique DVD from an artist and teacher, Ann Baxter *is that right?*, that is such a good learning tool.

This was my first attempt to use what I learned!LOL!!
Happy birthday to papa!

Sunday, August 5, 2007


So. My husband decides that now is the time to buy him a laptop.
He needs to become a viable part of this technical world as we know it.
Why, he's mastered his cell phone that he got about six months ago.
Oh, yeah - he can answer a call AND make a call....

So. We go to Office Max because it's close and we like to support our local businesses.
We find a HP computer with loads of memory AND it's on sale.
It's smaller than the very large notebook that I use so I tell Frank that hey, what a good idea I have.....we'll get this really good buy and I'LL take it and simply transfer all of my information from my really large notebook to this more compact one *making traveling easier for me since I take my laptop everywhere* and he'll have the perfect laptop computer for his office.
Why, what a good idea, he tells me, and off we go, loaded up with our new notebook AND WITH OUR HANDY DANDY, IT WILL DO ALL OF THE WORK, VERY EXPENSIVE

So. I want you to look at the time on the clock above this; it reads 4:23 p.m. SATURDAY.
This camera is on the desktop of my new smaller and more compact notebook *the dust particles are on my camera lens - I'm totally grossed out* and it's letting y'all know that I've already been working on the computer for ALMOST 7 1/2 HOURS.
You see, the notebook we bought was well, it was STUPID and didn't work.
But before I determined that my best route would be to take it back to Office Max and get a new one or throw a fit in the middle of the store if they gave me any grief *that was my plan*, I got to spend a couple of hours trying to figure out why it kept freezing up on me and I got to talk to one tech on the east coast and.................are you ready???..................this is what made the first half of my adventure so much fun............................I got to talk to a tech in INDIA!

So. I got a notebook that worked and then I got to spend.............this part's special, too................THIRTEEN HOURS with two different techs at "NEW PC SETUP & FILE TRANSFER" THAT DIDN'T KNOW AS MUCH AS I KNOW!
OH. MY. GOSH. At one point, and I don't think you can read it on the screen in the second photo, I told the first tech that I was fixin to start cutting my fingers off one by one.
That was about 4:27 p.m. this afternoon, SUNDAY.
Are ya followin' the time line here?

Well, we're finished now and everything is working just dandy.
I'm going to make a phone call just as soon as I'm finished here to "NEW PC SETUP & FILE TRANSFER"
and then I'm going to call Mr. HP.

After that I'm going to make a really dark piece of art.
Then I'll be allllll better.

Computers.............they'll suck the life right out of ya.

Friday, August 3, 2007


My mother's sister's name was Mary Beth and she died about five years ago.
She and my mom were very close though M.B. lived in Texas and mom lives in Michigan. This box is in honor of my Aunt Mary Beth and we (Skyler helped me with it) made it for my cousin, Suzanne, M.B.'s daughter. The picture on the top of the antique box *which I've owned for years and years* is of M.B. - probably her high school graduation picture.
There's a qoute on the right bottom corner of the top and it says, "A Distracted Bomb Shell"!

I took a picture of the back of the box so you could see the legs.......Can you see the math symbols on them? These legs were from a magazine ad for something I'm sure we should all own.....I thought they were so cool that I cut them out and put them on the box. Aren't they the bomb???

The inside of the box is covered with cool paper that coordinates with the floral paper in the lid of the box. That floral paper is original paper from the box and it's so cool!!

I'm going to box this little treasure up and mail it to my cousin as a surprise - I'm so excited because I know that she will love it because it's all about her mom!
Wanna hear something even cooler???
Suzanne and I hooked up this summer at Lake Michigan for my mom's 80th birthday. I hadn't seen or talked to her since I was about 9 years old.
It was so incredible getting to know her and becoming friends (and cousins again!)

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Would you believe that this trailer is full of everything that was at one time in front of my shop/studio???
This spring my s/s flooded twice *ceiling leaks and floor* because of all of the rain we've been having in south Texas......sooooooooo, I had to close up the shop portion and move the studio to my house.
I haven't planted the beds around the door to the *new* studio yet but when I do I plan on using some of the things in this photo.

My husband had to mow in front of the old s/s and so he just loaded up his trailer with all of my yard art treasures. You can see that he paid little attention to the way he stacked them nicely in the trailer.............right.

He has pulled the trailer up to the house and parked it in the pasture right behind us. I have two days to figure out what I want to keep and what is "junk" - his word.
I don't know how in the world I'm going to part with any of the treasures that Brat and I painfully painted pink but I can tell by looking in the trailer that I'm not going to be able to utilize most of it!
I'm pretty sure I can convince Frank, my husband, to use some of the polka dot buckets as feed buckets.............goats like pink, don't they???

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


This summer my husband, myself and our 17 year old son drove up to Michigan to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday. We met everyone, sisters, brothers, mom, of course, aunts, uncles and cousins, at Lake Michigan for a week of sun, visiting, eating together, shopping and driving the back roads to check out surrounding towns.
We stayed in South Haven right on the water *another posting would be necessary to tell you how water effects my soul* and had the absolute most fabulous time.

One of our discoveries was a huge junk shop and yard between South Haven and Saugatuck, Michigan. It went on forever and was full of the most amazing treasures!
It's there that I found the Lady.
I knew the minute I saw her that I had to have her for my flower bed located at the entrance to my studio.
She's made of cement and weighs an absolute ton.....I was so happy that my husband was with me! AND that we had his pick-up truck!!

She's not been planted in her permanent place, she's still sitting on the ledge next to my husband's tomato plants.
I'm waiting to place her until I know without a doubt where she should rest.
I know that where ever I put her that she's going to be absolutely beautiful, hence her name.


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