Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Finally! Brave Girl Camp ... HOW WAS IT?

Get ready for some rambling musings. I've tried to organize my thoughts and words in answer to that question and I just can't seem to do it as eloquently as others I've read. Bear with me. Life changing experiences are tough to put into words.

So ... Brave Girl Camp - how was it?

It was beyond LOVELY in every visual way.
I was surrounded by BEAUTIFUL people, beautiful ART (this part was pretty intimidating!).
Melody and Kathy and their incredible friends were THOUGHTFUL and GENEROUS beyond belief.
We were PAMPERED at every turn and served the most incredibly DELICIOUS food all week.
But it was also hard, very hard and very brave for me to be there at all.
I'm an introvert (classic, quiet, invisible middle child!) and flying from Illinois to Idaho all alone knowing not a single soul was truly brave. No wonder it was hard when I got there.

But maybe it was hard to the part of me who doesn't want growth and change in my life? I was elated to be there, to be a part of something this BIG, but I couldn't shake the role of observer rather than active participant.

It was hard to see so many women in need of caring and compassion and give to them when I'm so very nearly tapped out of both after this past year and a half. But ... dig deep and it's there - that immense capacity to love we women possess. I have felt it even more since my return home.

It was hard to believe that women could possibly bond so quickly after only a few days together. I want so much to believe that is possible though. What beautiful women they are! What lovely souls! What inner strength I witnessed! I want never to forget them. I want more moments together somehow to grow what began at Brave Girl Camp. Time will tell ... but the country feels a bit smaller knowing Brave Girls are scattered all around me.

It is hard to tell where I will go from here - as a woman trying to find a new direction in life, as an artist trying to find her niche, as a mother and wife trying to be the best she can without losing sight of herself in the process. Here I go anyway. I am a Brave Girl.

It will take many weeks to process all that I experienced in that one. But I am so grateful to have had that one incredible week.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Brave Girl Camp - How was it!??

Forgive me as I'm still processing my incredible Brave Girl Camp experience.

LIFE has also had a way of intruding (how rude of it to continue at the same frantic pace upon my return as it was coming at me before my trip!) on my thoughts and my time.

More details coming soon ...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Farm Girl Goes to Art Camp

I don't believe I've shared this here yet but ...

I'm about to go on an adventure.

I'm heading to Brave Girl Camp in Idaho next week for 5 art-filled, girls-only days in the mountains near Eagle, Idaho. This shy Michigan farm girl is going to spread her artsy wings and see what she's got. I'm incredibly nervous, super excited, ready for the break from routine "duty", a bit nervous to go alone knowing NO ONE that I'll be there with, hopeful that all that won't matter and we will become fast creative friends.

Have a gazillion things to do before I head out on Tuesday but for now I'm on Cloud 9 and trying to feel brave.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Warp Speed - HIGHLY overrated!!!

Life is traveling at warp speed around here these days and, the sad thing is, I don't think it's likely to change any time soon.

Hold on - I'm sure something creative is bound to spin off soon. Maybe if I gave up sleep!?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Settling in ... and Summer

We are finally in the house!!! Yay!

It's been 2.5 weeks since we moved in and things are starting to look like we actually live here. My goal this week is to get more than one room totally box-free! Each one still has that one last box in it full of stuff that I just don't know what to do with. So ... I'm almost there.

I'm trying not to rob the kids of too much of their summer settling in to the house though. Our June has been super busy but come July I'm hoping to kick back and enjoy the season.

My studio, you ask? Well ... it's sort of unpacked. There are only a couple boxes left but it is really just simply unpacked (OK, sort of the equivalent of having the boxes spontaneously explode into one room is more like it). I have no idea how I'm going to organize the room and haven't had the time to devote to it yet. I'm itching to finally PLAY again though!

Looking forward to posting project pics again soon! Until then, enjoy your own piece of summer!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

OK - back up, here!

I just want to make sure that those few of you who check this blog be sure to get your money's worth.

I THOUGHT I was being really organized one day when I uploaded about 3 posts worth of photos and wrote blog entries to go with each of them. I did them all on Wed. April 28. When I went back to edit and then post each one days later I couldn't figure out how to change the date so ALL of them got posted April 28. However, they're in some goofy order ...

so ... please be sure to scroll down to check ALL the posts dated April 28 since there are some pics definitely worth looking at.

Thanks and sorry for my technical inability.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Guess what my girls are up to ...?

Counted cross-stitch!!! Can you believe it? The '80s have been revisited by my little crafty souls. Mackenzie is doing her name in a cool calligraphy font for a wall hanging in her new room. She's so into it right now that she's choosing it over TV! WOW!

Paige went with us to get Mackenzie's Aida cloth and didn't want to be left out. We picked up this teeny kit for her and she's really taking off with it.

The girls seemed a little skeptical at first about my ability to teach them cross-stitch. Then I showed them these beauties ...

... my 1980s Amish works. Still love them even though they are so country and so dated.

Mackenzie noticed the dates and my initials on them and asked why I don't do this anymore. Well since most of them were done pre-1990, I'd say that 4 kids, 4 moves, my degree, rubberstamps, scrapbooks, photography, and a whole lot of LIFE have gotten in the way. I'll pick it up again though, especially if the girls keep at it.

I'm so proud of them! So happy they are finding pleasure creating something by hand.


Exploding Paper Quilt Boxes

Another great little class on Live with Prima ...

Thanks for this design goes to Julie Fei-Fan Balzer ( I made one of these as birthday gifts for a couple very special people.

They are cute little boxes about 4x4" when all closed up, and ... when opened ...

they look like beautiful paper quilts! The bonus is they have a surprise inside. This one has a cute little mini book inside.

(here's a close up of the mini)

Just for fun, I packed a cute little bag of chocolates in the other box. Pretty, eh? Now that I've made a couple of these, I'm dying to make a ton of them. I think they'd make super cute favors for a ladies' luncheon, don't you? Paper quilts - gotta love it.

Thanks for stopping by.


"Grown Up" Chunky Book

Remember Chunky books? - those little board books for babies that were a couple inches thick and made of heavy chipboard (baby bite-able!) pages. Here is my grown-up version thanks to Marion Smith ( for the design and class. It was actually a kit from Live with Prima with slightly different product but I adapted it to use products I had on hand (which were still predominantly from Prima anyway). I LOVE looking at it.

The book is about 3 inches thick!! and filled with the most beautiful papers and flowers.

I used Prima's "Tea and Silk" line of papers plus some "Rue 88", many of their lovely flowers, some of their onyx crystals, ribbons, and various other rub-ons and buttons.

The book is full of pockets and tags which I hope to fill with quotes and sayings that have special meaning to me. Not sure if I'll add photos too. Probably not since I don't want to cover up much of the pretty papers. I'm thinking some hand writing is all this chunky book needs.

Thanks for looking.


My Art Journey Book

After about two years of having and viewing this tutorial from Donna Downey, I finally got around to making my "Journey of Me" book. I'm using its freestyle, grungy, casual format to journal my thoughts along my art journey. Only have a couple of entries so far but I'm looking forward to filling it day by day.

Sorry for posting the pics backwards - here is the cover w/ the book closed. Love its grungy style! Yes, that's "roughed-up" corrugated cardboard for the covers.

Thanks, Donna Downey, for the inspiration not only to make this particular book but also for the idea to record our thoughts along the way of our journey to becoming who we were meant to be.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Envelope Birthday Book

Here is a book I made for my sister's 50th birthday present. It's made of regular greeting card envelopes bound together in a book. The cover is a Hambly transparency with a cute little crepe paper ruffle (sprayed with Key Lime Pie Glimmer Mist to give it color).

Inside each envelope I placed a note along with a gift card for a particular place.
You'll notice on the pages I did a lot of the penant banners. I sort of caught the bug from and have been using this idea - uh, like everywhere.

The design for this book came from Heidi Swapp too. She did a 6x9 envelope book as a free class on her webshow. This was my version using envelopes and papers I had on hand.
Thanks for looking.

Packing up again!

So ... just when I get some energy going in the studio, it's time to close up shop again.

We bought a house and will be moving in a little more than a month. In the meantime I've got PACKING to do. I'll have to pack up the studio first to rid myself of the distraction. How sad to box up my lovely papers and ribbons and embellies. I'll miss them but what fun it will be to organize new space again. This time I hope to customize it a bit with some cabinetry (haven't run that one past DH yet though so we'll see). I'd love a look that's just a little bit above my current stacks-of-plastic-bins look.

I have been getting a few things made over the past several weeks though. Will share with some pics as soon as I download them. Mostly I've been making projects from free online class videos. I'm getting hooked on a few - Heidi Swapp ( does one on Wednesday nights and Prima does several each month ( The Prima ones are actually kits you can pre-order before the show and then make right along with the artist during the video. How cool is that? You should check them out.

I've also been taking some cool spring photos. Remember that old Garden Book class I taught about a year ago? I never made one for myself! So ... now it's time. I've been collecting some great photos of the flowers and flowering trees this spring. It's been gorgeous here in IL.

Check back soon for those pics.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Creating again ... one project at a time.

I know it's been a long time coming, but life happens ...

This is my first FULL quote book, "words to live by". I'm so inspired by neat quotes, poems, and verses that a couple years ago I covered this composition book to have a pretty place to write them down. It's much better than the collection of little bits of scrap paper I had collecting all over my desk. Anyway ... I recently filled it to the last page!

So I had to make another one, "more words to live by", since I keep collecting more to record ...
I loved the Asian theme of the green one so I kept it going here. I just love the fact that I'm on my second book. And, yes, I do refer back to them and use the quotes on my scrap projects - LOTS. Next up was to find a way to collect the project ideas that I've accumulated in this random mess of notebooks into one convenient place. I was constantly picking up a different notebook whenever I needed to record an idea for a mini book or other art project. I wanted one place where I could keep and record project ideas, design sketches, color and paper swatches, etc. So I created this out of an old Bo-Bunny canvas binder. The canvas was too light so I sprayed it with Glimmer Mist (suede), then used some Tim Holtz stencils and distress ink to create a scroll-y design on the binding.
Some 7 Gypsies, Prima, and Basic Grey papers, some manilla file folders and Prima embellishments later and I had a working home for the project ideas floating around in my head and swimming in that stack of notebooks scattered all over the place.

I've been playing around with different mini book binding options. They're really more like glorified cards but are sort of a fun, quick way to make a little mini as well. The vintage chocolate ad was from Inside I did a little booklet with the verse "The Truth about Chocolate" printed inside.
Of course I had to stamp up the inner pages. Who likes just plain text on a page?!? Also had to do my share of distressing as always. Love the silky ribbon. It reminds me of all the wonderful rich shades of real chocolate. (Yep - been on a little chocolate kick lately.)
Another binding mini option was this accordian fold binding. This idea came from a webisode on I used some 6x6 papers from Memory Box, a Hambly transparency for the cover, and some plain cardstock.
Here is how I embellished the book. It's going to be presented to my parents as an Anniversary card in late May. They're on their 60th. I printed out a neat quote (you guessed it, from my quote book) on strips of cardstock and that became my journaling for the book. I think I got carried away with the flowers on the cover but ... oh well.
The quote throughout reads: "Time is a companion that goes with us on the journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived."
OK - that does it for now. Been on a role, I guess. That must be why no one has anything clean to wear these days. Back to life ...

Thanks for looking -

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Scraplifting is better than no scrapping at all ...

Hey there!
I realize it's been AGES since I posted and this will hardly qualify as living the creative life ... but what's a girl to do. Been busy with life these days.

This was a super cute Make-and-Take project that 7Gypsies did at the recent CHA convention in California. They kindly posted instructions and the calendar pages for download on their website. I just happened to have all the supplies needed to make one for myself. Such a gypsy, aren't I?

Saw this idea on Heidi Swapp's blog. She'd done this really simple digital kit for a cute banner and I knew my girls would LOVE it if I dolled up the house a bit for Valentine's Day. So here's mine. I found some cute pink damask file folders in the dollar section at Michaels and used those for the base of each little pennant. Ruffled some crepe paper and printed tissue paper, inked and trimmed a bit. Cute, I think, and the girls did love it.

So, beyond these two mini "lifts" I have done very little creative lately. I have been trying to keep up with the kids after school activities as well as keep up the ho-hum household stuff. We're also jumping back into house hunting mode now that the holidays are over. I'm finding that my focus is on creating a future home for us more than creating lovely art projects. However ... keep checking in. I think some creative things may crop up every now and then. I do try!

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Busy with LIFE ... be back soon!

Been a bit busy with the daily grind but I have been trying to squeeze in a little creative now and then. Have some pics of latest little projects to post plus an update of what in the world I've been up to.

Come back tomorrow.