Friday, September 6, 2013

The Second Secret

Today I decide to enjoy the workshops in alphabetical order, just in case I get confused.  In the beginning, this class seems way too weird for me—burning candles and rope with the beating of drums.  Well, okay.  I do try the music, but then I can’t hear the instructions.

So we need to find our spirit guide.  An animal that appears in our dreams and calls to us, sometimes giving us messages.  I’m too old to be New Age.  But water has always called out to me and I consider myself a water child.   I’m ready to go find any message it may have to give me.  If I have an “original medicine” it’s water for sure!

This class does have something I need very much—a looseness that allows me freedom to explore.  My work is always so tightly controlled.  I tell myself “Just get over it!”  This 21 Secret workshop is presented by Carrisa Paige and is called Following the Wild Winds.

We paint straight onto the paper with a credit card, and I find I love this look!  But everything is so fast and furious that there is no before shots or stopping along the way.

Carrisa introduces me to just letting mistakes go…it all hangs out!  I do the right hand page first and as soon as the paint is dry I add the photocopy of me in Bermuda standing on the beach.  She says to paint over the picture!  This is quirky fun!  I decide to take a few pounds off with paint.  Now we’re really cruising’!

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  Then Carrisa has us stamp with foam shapes covered with paint.  Mine are the pink flowers and little pink dots shaded with a darker pink pastel.  We also use a stamp, making sure that some of the images are only partially there.  She introduces glitter tape which I cut in a wavy look and use for water foam under my picture.   Today is the first time I use alcohol ink—that’s the roundish blue-green smears at the top of the page.

I try to use a gorgeous magenta alcohol ink like Carrisa, letting it run across the page.  It’s a disaster!  So I cover it up with more paint and the large arrow marking “I am here.”  You can see how I outline it with glitter tape.  I write and adhere my 4 lines of text as she suggests.  I like it!  And I like the way the paint looks like water, too.  I end up having so much fun!  Who knew?

Two down and 19 to go.  Put a little art in your life today!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The First Secret

Earlier this year I registered for an online workshop called 21 Secrets, presented by  When I registered, I had no idea how intense my mother’s care would be and how many hours I would spend with her or how little time I’d have to work on art journaling.

This is the first section I joined:  Doodling Our Way, taught by Cathy Bluteau.  I knew I could take supplies and work on it when Mama was sleeping. 

I started with a Strathmore Mixed Media Visual Journal that is 9x12.  You can see that I put down scrapbook paper that was cut up into pieces of various size.  I should mention that I probably used too much paper and not enough empty space for doodling.

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In the photo below, you can see the added doodles, some stenciling, text I wrote, and background color.  The empty spaces were divided with rulers and design so each space would be smaller.  This is another thing I forgot to do while working at my mother’s without Cathy’s informative video, so I don’t have many spaces.  For filling in the background spaces, Cathy introduces the Copic marker which I love!   You may also notice that I used a white  uni-ball pen for highlighting.

I’ve doodled ribbons, bows, flowers and girls’ faces since I was in the early grades of elementary school so this part was really fun for me.

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Here is the final part and where I learned the most!   Cathy teaches some cool techniques that I haven’t tried before, like drawing  “ghost images” (see the flower I added on the right hand page up where I wrote “Say it with flowers” with the copy-cat drawing I did?) and cutting up a copy of Madame Butterfly from my first art journal, then using the strips on new work along side of washi tape.

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I still had some large areas of little interest, so I doodled a bow and ribbons and then stenciled a piece of lace—yes, that is what that white blobby thing is above the words RIBBONS & LACE.   Disappointed over how it turned out, I added more white cross-hatching with my white pen, shading with the brown wax pastel and doing a bit of outlining with my Micron  pen.

The most exciting thing for me was learning about and using the  water soluble wax pastels.  Mine are by Reeves and I purchased them at Michaels.  It ages the paper and makes images “pop”!  When I scrapbook, I always brush on brown chalk for an antique look, but the wax pastels are so much better.  I have to remember, though, that it’s just about impossible to sketch or write anything over the wax.

I’ve been a little sad knowing I won’t complete all 21 workshops before time runs out next month, but right now I’m embracing the classes I will be able to complete!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Another Sunday Summary

After blogging last week, I realize that I am accomplishing some things, but my huge problem is that I am now finally trying to adjust to being retired!  I know it’s been over a year, but it was a year of caring for my mother and then a lot of traveling time.

I realize that I need to learn to add structure to my life if I want to be truly happy.  This is what I concentrated on this past week.

Adding beauty IMG_1563 (2)                                                         IMG_1570 (2)

My lovely daughter gave me this planter for my birthday.  Once again I neglected to take a before photo, but all I did was add the crystal like I’ve seen on Pinterest.  Then I filled it with pink impatiens and white phlox.  I love the way it freshens our entry!  Hmmm….I’m thinking that cedar wood will look lovely painted white.

Scrapbooking my travels IMG_1582 (2)

I’ve been dreaming about going to the UK since I was a teen!  I love reading about the Tudors and King Henry VIII, and my favorite writers of classical books, poetry and historical novels are from England.

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I would hate to try to negotiate the London underground, or tube, by myself, but it’s so exciting to travel mass transit at those high speeds while you read, do crossword puzzles, or tinker with an ipad or smart phone.  Some commuters work on lap tops and eat breakfast!

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Still a work-in-progress, I’m doing these pages in an online workshop, 21 Secrets from Dirty Footprints Studio.  I still want to paint a girl and some lace.  My work is way too structured and I’m trying to be more loose and free like the talented artists in the workshop.

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I love my bookclub friends!   This month we read The Light between the Oceans.  My daughter and I both love the book—the others are not so sure. 

The absolute best thing is that I came home with an armful of books!  My friend, Peggy, asked me to read The Age of Miracles so we can talk about if it’s a good pick for bookclub.  I read the entire book yesterday!  AND started another, Glow this morning.

My MUST HAVES:  Add beauty, scrapbook, journal, read

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Summary

You know how you go along and just barely seem to get the necessities done?  Since I’ve been home from my vacations it seems like I just exist without accomplishing any goals, so I decided (since I can’t make myself catch up on my blogging) that I will give a run down on what I did this week.

Who knows?  Maybe it will seem like I accomplished something after all.  Last Sunday I wanted to do something meaningful, so I did some scrapbook pages. Rylee's baptism 1

These are of my grand daughter’s baptism earlier this month. 

She is so sweet and I feel  blessed that we were able to attend her baptism.


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We had planned to hurry home so hubby could get back to his yard, but I’m glad that someone else was able to talk him into driving back across the state!


Nathan and family 1

Then I took some older photos out of the frames and put them on scrapbook pages.

These are of my oldest son and his family when they only had these two boys.

Nathan's 2 boys

These guys are so grown up now and have two more brothers and a sister!

It’s fun for me to go back and see them as they used to be. 

I’ve put all these photos in the cousin scrapbook.

My mother left lots of things for the family to share.  I’m excited that I’m able to redo some of the items that she had in storage for years.  going white

These used to be all black iron (as usual, I neglected to take my before pictures) but I painted them white because I’m trying to decorate with a French Country look…and I just love the shabby chic look !


more white

I also painted these old wooden pepper mill and salt shakers.  They used to be natural wood and pretty worn but I love the way they look so fresh and clean now.


Blue Boy and Pinkie unfinished

Mama loved Blue Boy and Pinkie!  She had prints in frames, made ceramic figures of them and did this gorgeous needle point.

It’s sad that these were never displayed and never quite finished.

I found these old frames she had that were spray painted a cheap gold and repainted them with white acrylic paint and then distressed them.  Pinkie’s frame was chipped and broken in places, and the frames don’t really match, but I LOVE the look.  And the pieces fit perfectly into these frames without having any other needlework completed.

Blue Boy and Pinkie finished 2

I’m so happy that my mother’s work will finally be displayed in my home and passed down for generations in the family.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happy Fourth of July!

It’s here!  July 4th and all of it’s wonderful celebrations.  Hope you get to see some great fireworks tonight!  We usually go to the high school in Nephi.

Here is a photo of my mother when she was still well enough to enjoy the celebrations with us.IMG_0478 (2)

How she loved dressing in red, white and blue and showing her true patriotism.  She flew the flag every day and made certain that a light shown on it every night.  Mama loved to decorate for the Fourth too, and I have two wreaths of hers to hang up this year!

Here is a photo my sweetie took of Mama and I that day.  IMG_0479 (2)

Have an exciting, safe and wonderful celebration of the Fourth!

Missing Mama

This past week I’ve been truly missing my mother who passed to a far better place on Mother’s Day this year.  It’s not that I don’t know she is happier and free from pain—it’s just that as exciting things happen in life, I can’t go in and talk to her about them anymore.

Last week, my sweet granddaughter, Katelynn, was married.  And Mama had so wanted to go to the temple with her—and with the other grandchildren who were married during her struggle with cancer.  NATE AND KATE_crop

Here is a picture we took at the Mt. Timpanogos Temple.  I wanted to tell Mama all about the sweetness of  this day and how the room was so crowded more chairs had to be brought in and then there were two people sitting on some of the chairs any way.   I wanted to tell her how wonderful Nate’s family is and how much she would like them.  I wanted to tell her how the sealer greeted the moms and the grandmas and then whispered in my ear that we were the ones that started all this.

Mama loves that her daughters and granddaughters are all so beautiful.  But she was too.  Here is a picture of her from her high school years.Grandma[4]

She always seems so beautiful to me and she looks  like she stepped right off the pages of a fashion magazine.

As a mom, she looked so young that some times people didn’t believe she was my mother.

Here is a picture of our family taken at my Grandma Brinck’s home with my parents, three brothers and little sister.

old family photo when I was a teen

This week as I sort through her clothes, I just want to gather them all around me on the bed, hold on to them (sobbing as I never did in the days after her death and funeral) and think of her and how much I miss her.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hopelessly Romantic

As a hopeless romantic, I have a difficult time letting go of Valentine’s Day.

valentine hutch close-upI love the ruffles and lace, hearts and flowers, glitter and bling, and the pinks and reds.

This is the inside of my white antique hutch.  I tack pink floral fabric behind the shelves, and then I scout around the house for any thing pink or red…or with hearts an flowers.  I told you I was a hopeless romantic!

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This is a table runner I made when I learned how to do crazy quilts.  It looks even better when my husband remembers to bring me flowers to set on it.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pride and Prejudice 200 Year Celebrations

My second book  for the challenge is Pride and Prejudice and the Zombies.


The cover of this book intrigued me from the first time I saw it.  It just seemed so out of place in Miss Austen’s world, but the cover perfectly fits the book.

The language of Jane Austen is there, so refined and elegant.  But then it is juxtaposed with the Miss Bennetts carrying around muskets, daggers and Chinese stars.  And did I mention their side yard dojo?

At first this was so hilariously incongruent that I laughed out loud.  After a few chapters, though, I got so sick of reading about zombies sucking brains and eating entrails that I had to speed read to the end…where I did find a few things to make me chuckle, or, at the least, smile.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Austenprose—Book #1 Challenge

Jane Austen Ruined My Life is filled with imagination and speculation about Jane Austen’s missing letters and with interesting facts  and information about the places that became more famous because she was there.


Reading this book just made me more excited for my UK trip that’s coming up. 

I have more places to add to my “must see” list and my tour map.  I know we’re already going to Bath and Chawton,  and now I’m hoping that also on that list are St. Nicholas Church in Steventon, the Cobb at Lyme, and Hatchards Book Store.


           In  this book the author, Beth Pattillo, writes about Hatchards …”my life was a disaster, but there were still books, lots and lots of books. A refuge.  A solace.”

She assures us books are better than meditation or a new pair of shoes—or even chocolate.

I know if I had to choose between my favorite chocolate or a good book, the book would win every time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Imagining London


I’m so excited now that I’m actually planning my trip to London in the UK!  The Utah chapter of JASNA is planning a trip in May and June and I can hardly wait! 

In a short time, I’ll walk the paths of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Hardy, Thackeray, Dickens AND Jane Austen.  We’ll go to Bath for sure and visit other sites where she wrote or visited.

imagined London

Today I finished this book that tells about English authors and the places where they wrote and wrote about .

There’s a map included with so many amazing must see spots and their places in English literature, that I am compelled to enlarge it, hang it on my wall, and make notations of places I just cannot miss!

There are some 20th century authors that I never cared to read because I always prefer the classics or historical novels.  Now I MUST read those to appreciate the places they wrote about!

I’ve wanted to go to London and other parts of England since I read my first historical novels as a 14 year old.  It’s been a part of my ever expanding bucket list for the longest time.  Now I’m counting down the days!

I’ve dreamed about visiting Stratford on Avon and Stonehenge since I was a pre-teen.  Now I dream about England every day.  I’ll make certain to keep you posted because it’s UK OR BUST!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hopelessly Addicted to Books

Peggy in bookclub

I am so lucky to belong to the best bookclub ever….we’re all addicted to reading!  Often a book a month isn’t quite enough, so we have two. 

Then there’s also our yearly classic which is read in 200 page monthly increments. 

This photo is from our meeting Saturday, and shows my great friend Peggy modeling her Type 3 Energy outfit and demonstrating the remarkable similarity to the author Carol Tuttle (also a Type 3).  The book is It’s Just My Nature.  Peggy knew from the get-go that she was a Type 3, where as I, on the other hand, was so confused that I wanted to throw the book out the door. 

Did I mention we also sometimes have a “secret” book?  That’s the book we LOVE so much that if anyone hates it, she can’t say a negative word about it!  Some of us have very tender feelings, you know.

Another fabulous part of our bookclub is our all night reading marathons (which evolve into talk-a-thons—but we’re talking about books) (mostly). . . and we sometimes follow this with a day at the outlets.  We’re serious shoppers, too.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Loving Jane

I’m so excited to have an excuse to read  Austen’s works again and revisit the movies.  AND….here’s hoping I will actually make it across the pond to the UK this spring to visit the places I’ve been dreaming about since I was a teenager.

The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013

For this challenge on, I’m aiming for the aficionado challenge.  That’s 9-12 pieces new or revisited.  I have 4 new books just waiting on my bookshelf!  Plus Austenprose has listed several broadcasts to watch for the challenge.

Last year for the bicentennial year of Sense and Sensibility I attended a fabulous tea party with the Utah chapter of JASNA.  This year the chapter is taking a trip to England to celebrate the bicentenary year of Pride and Prejudice.

This absolutely demands a new Regency gown to add to my collections…and I already have the most gorgeous lace that I purchased in Portland while attending the JASNA convention a couple of years ago.  You’ll have to check back later to see more details!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

From My House to Yours


I know it’s late for this post.  For heaven’s sake—it’s been almost 2 years since I posted anything at all.  But here you can see my new mantle.  All right, it’s really about a year old, but the decorations are new!  I designed it myself and my wonderful son-in-law (more about him later) brought my creation to life! 

I’ll post more about it later…I have a few pictures of the process, but I ALWAYS forget to do the before photos as you’ll see in the next few days when I try to catch-up what I’ve been up to.

One thing I’m so pleased about is my Christmas newsletter.  I’ve had a goal for a few years to do one, but never had time until I retired this year. 

The most exciting thing that happened this Christmas is that SANTA actually came to our house!  REALLY!   When I saw gifts all around the tree and stockings that I didn’t fill, I was totally confused!

This is what happened:  my youngest son had visited early Christmas morning the year before, and saw our stockings hanging pathetically empty.  Then he talked to his sister who talked to all of the other kids and they planned the Christmas surprise, snuck into the house after midnight, put gifts under the tree and filled our stockings.  I always knew I had awesome kids, but this year they blew me away!!!

Hope your Christmas was wonderful and that you’ll have a Happy New Year, too!