Creative Jumpstart 2021

Creative Jumpstart 2021
Join me for the 10th Anniversary of CJS2021

Thursday, May 31

putting ideas into reality….part 1

I've been thinking about this for about a year now -- and I'm kicking myself in the pants for not getting this done sooner. Really -- I only think about it when I need it -- which is every other day -- so you would think I would have had it completed by now. It was so DANG easy - the hardest part was changing the drill bit to accommodate the screw head I was using. 
As a working designer and teacher it's necessary for me to take great photos of my work -- even if it's for photo approval -- always put your best foot forward, right? 

I've tried so many different things -- but this by FAR is the best, easiest and fastest way to create a neutral backdrop for my small projects -- without having some weird tent to pop-up or find a place to store when I'm not using it. 

I simply went to Lowe's and purchased a Levolor shade -- 36" wide --  and installed it underneath my shelf using the additional brackets they had close-by.
When I don't need it I can tuck it up around the roller and keep it out of the way -- but when I have things to photograph -- pull it down and arrange my projects on it. How wonderful, simple and FANTASTIC -- oh and did I mention it cost less than $10.00?? That's the OTHER plus! 

Make sure you get the right package of brackets or you'll be back at Lowe's getting the right ones. These are for hanging INSIDE a window frame! 

Well, that's all for today -- hope you have a GREAT day and thanks for stopping by! 

Wednesday, May 30

Australian Simply Cards Issue 44

When I was at CHA last winter my friend Martha introduced me to a couple of nice ladies from Practical Publishing, an Australian company that publishes a card making and a scrapbooking magazine. Several weeks after I got home I got an email asking me to write an article and makes some cards for them -- and I couldn't refuse! 
I was so excited when the issue came in the mail the other day -- not only did I have a 6 page article and 2 cards with step-outs....
but I had the FRONT Cover as well! So excited and honored that they asked me to participate in their beautiful magazine -- a huge and heartfelt thank you to Tina Horton and Mandy Collins! 
I have quite a few students from Australia that I'm excited to share this news with! 

That's all for today -- lots to do and a short week to boot! Thanks for stopping by -- hope you have a wonderful day! 

Tuesday, May 29

when magic happens...

I love it when something I see amazes and inspires me. Sometimes it makes me crazy because I want to drop EVERYTHING and make what I see in my head a reality on paper and  when THAT happens there are usually days and days ahead of me before I can put the fire burning in my brain on paper.  that CAN be a good thing.

I only say that because this week, that has definitely been the case. magic happened in my studio. from nature to journal and then from journal to canvas. I think having a few days to percolate and mull things over definitely contributed to a well designed journal page and canvas, and a bit of magic!

yes, something magical and I can't wait to share -- but first I have to share with my students this week! 
I had about 2 or 3 days to work out the details of how I was going to tackle my mind's eye and put it on a piece of paper for you to see.  It came out perfectly -- exactly as I saw it -- exactly the way I saw it when I first was inspired driving down the road. Exactly what I wanted to drop everything for but couldn't.  

until the weekend came. This weekend has been magic turning that vision into a reality.

For me it's a weird thing, when I see something in nature -- flowers or whatever it is that inspires me -- I get a picture in my head of a painting, and then I snap a picture with my phone to make sure I don't forget the tiniest details. :-) and then I paint it.

For me Pinterest doesn't do it the way nature or life does. I really prefer to be inspired by something that no one else has done -- by something in my garden or from a photo I have taken. Don't get me wrong, I am inspired by the internet and occasionally from Pinterest (I use that pretty much for food, hair style and home decor ideas) but it feels so good to make something for myself from my own ideas and just from playing. it feels good to rely on my own ideas for my art.

Today I would love to know where you find inspiration -- nature, fabric, family or your own imagination?  THANKS for stopping by, hope you had a wonderful weekend and are ready for a busy but short week! 

Sunday, May 27

Farmer's Market Friday

I've got a busy weekend but wanted to share some eye-candy I saw at the Farmer's Market on Friday. Aren't these beautiful?

Hope you are having a WONDERFUL Memorial Day Weekend, I know we are! 

Thursday, May 24

Inspired, again!

Lately I've been inspired by a lot of old art, some I saw at the museum when we went a few weeks ago, others I've seen on the internet, and another piece that sticks in my mind most vividly is a piece I saw when I visited Brimflield.
While the tiny art piece I'm showing here (4" x 6") was definitely inspired by the pieces I'm referring to -- it by no means looks anything like them. It's the technique that I took the time to document in my head -- and the one that's been burning a fire in there -- reminding me how much I loved the art I've seen -- and also to change the designs -- to meet my style and colors.

I like the idea of starting a piece of art -- and adding or subtracting color to create something beautiful. In the class I am teaching at My Creative Classroom, Journal 2 Art -- I showed my students a technique I have happily dubbed "The Art of Subtraction", I've never heard anyone call this technique that -- so I'm claiming it as my own, :-) However I'm pretty sure other people are doing it -- they just don't have a cool name for it like me.
I searched and searched for what this is called, but came up empty. Anyhow, no matter. I love this look -- and how bright and vibrant my colors are when I paint on this crackly prepared surface.
Wowwee, it really does look fantastic -- even more so in person and as a whole piece not just little snippets snapped with my Hipstamatic for you to see.

Well, that's all for today -- it's ALMOST Friday and the beginning of a long weekend! Enjoy your day and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 23

Go Big or GO Home!

My husband was away over the weekend giving me plenty of time to brainstorm a new piece of art I wanted to work on. You may remember my post from the other day for Nat and Julie's Second Floor Challenge about circles. Well, I couldn't stop thinking about how awesome it would look if I went BIG with it.

While rummaging around looking for something completely different I found this 20" x 20" Birch Panel and instantly knew that would be perfect for my weekend date.
Date with art that is!
I made a quick trip to the art store for a few new brushes and some varnish, oh-- and Thai food with a sweet friend along the way before getting started! 

I spent Saturday night and a lot of Sunday working on this baby -- on and off in between gardening, cleaning a little laundry and hanging with my boy -- mostly on though. 

I really love the way it came out, though this picture doesn't really do it justice, all you can see is the comparison between the Challenge piece from the other day and the new piece from the weekend!

The results, before I sanded and varnished it above, and a close-up after sanding below.

You can see the bit of distressing I did to take the perfect solid paint away.  I love it and can't wait to hang it in my friend's shop this weekend! Secretly I want to hang it in my bedroom, but we'll see how that works out.

That's it for today, hope you have a great day -- thanks for taking the time to stop by.

Tuesday, May 22

Just words...

Yesterday I felt light and happy -- today not so much so I'll just share some pretty words to soothe my dusty soul.  Soldiering on and not taking trying not to take it personally.  
We all have those moments, today I'm having one. 

Have a great day, I'm off to work now. 

Monday, May 21

seven hundred and fifty

I almost can't believe that I have posted on this thing 750 times. It seems like such an unreal number to me - kinda like winning the megabucks would be. I'm not sure what I thought I was doing when I started writing this -- or whether I thought I would even get to seven-hundred-and-fifty. But I have. Sometimes I have a hard time sticking to things so I'm actually giving myself a pat on the back to know that I've gotten this far with it.

 for me, seven-hundred-and-fifty is a pretty monumental number. As I look back, I can see times where I didn't blog much -- like last year. I can attest to the fact that -- sometimes --  life gets in the way and it's hard to share very much of yourself when everything feels pretty dark and pointless.

 So, in celebration of SEVEN-hundred-and-FiFtY posts -- and having a little light in my life lately -- I thought I would have a little give-away.

I found these fun collages when I was looking for something the other day -- I think these were published in Sew Somerset or another Stampington magazine. They were still wrapped up in the packaging they used to send them back to me. I thought you all would appreciate ART more than SUPPLIES.

I will draw a winner winner chicken dinner -- on Tuesday May 29th -- well -- I will draw THREE chicken dinners -- and each winner will win ONE of these cute collages that you can frame or do whatever you want with.

With that, I've got to get to work -- thank you so MUCH for your support -- it's knowing that you all are reading that keeps me coming back to this thing anyway! Have a WONDERFUL day!

Friday, May 18


There are times when you do something, no matter what it is -- and the final result bugs you. Well, maybe this doesn't happen to you, but it happens to me all the time. When I cook, when I write, teach, but it happens the most in my art -- but also a lot in whatever I do. 

I can't let it be.
I think this is because I know I can do it better.
it bothers me. 
it walks around with me all day, nagging at me.
no matter what I'm doing, it is right there.

I am not sure if this is a fault, but I do know that is a part of who I am. I find myself analyzing and dissecting things, I like to think it comes from the part of me that wants to understand all things and do what I do -- and do it well. To always put my best foot forward.  Analyzing things though, isn't always the healthiest and best way -- but it does help me make educated decisions -- and move forward to clean the debris, clutter and unhealthy people things from my life.

Keeping that in mind, remember where I was with the Second Floor Challenge yesterday. It bothered me. During an appointment, during work -- during video editing. To the point that it drove me CRAZY. And then it finally dawned on me -- and I couldn't do any other work until I got this done.

I spent about 9 minutes and 32 seconds fixing it. 

Now it doesn't bother me anymore. 

While I am still considering this a study for a larger piece of work -- I definitely will be giving this some space on my wall. Or maybe I will give it as a special birthday gift. Whatever I do with it, it will never bug me again.  

What do you do when something nags you and you can't let it go? Do you resolve the issue, let it be and think you can't resolve it -- or do you fix it so you can put if away and move on to the next "it"? I would love to know!

I realized -- that this is POST NUMBER 749. That means that the next post is a pretty monumental one for me -- so I will be offering a little give-away. Not sure if I will post that tomorrow or Monday -- but stay tuned -- I found some sweet little collages I made a while back when cleaning out my studio today that I thought you might like! 

Till next time, thanks for stopping by enjoy your beautiful day! 

Thursday, May 17

i took the CHALLENGE!

I've been wanting to take the Second Floor Challenge that my sweet friends Nat Kalbach and Julie Balzer started a few months ago. Work, family, travel -- well -- life just got in the way. Last night, I decided to just do it for two reasons. The first -- circles -- really? I love circles. And second -- Criminal Minds was freaking me out a little, ha ha.  So, I gave myself an hour -- from 9 to 10 -- and then back to work on video editing -- to see if I could take it to the next level.

 Right out of the gate I was scared. Like the first 2 minutes I was thinking what am I doing. ha ha. The answer - getting out of your comfort zone and taking it to the next lesson.  I used $1.99 a bottle Martha Stewart craft  paint -- they are beautiful colors and ones I love  and an 8x10 board from Ampersand. 

my goal was to start.  

And start I did. I began with a brush and mixed colors on the canvas to get rid of the white base, the first layer of paint is a mix of pink, green and orange -- and it's a lovely, yummy green. I used an eraser to make circles in the wet paint to reveal the white Ampersand board. Fun. It looked cool and I almost stopped for the night there. After 10 minutes. Ha ha, I really was uncomfortable.
I quickly switched to painting the circles with my fingers, I used a color eraser to make marks in the paint -- oh and a pencil for skinnier marks.
Before I subtracted the background color with black gesso, this thing was a bit on the scary side. I was pretty anxious at 9:43 because I didn't think I could turn it around. I finished my glass of wine and soldiered on.
Don't get me wrong -- there are spots on this little painting that I love. Like these sweet pink dots on the blue background. 
and the orange sand-dollar.
and the yellow upside down waves.
and the peach flower down there on the right.

that big maroon/red blob in the center. something about that thing isn't right. the design -- yes love that. I think it's the color. I will probably re-work that blob to see if I can turn it around and love it like I love the others. then again -- maybe I won't.

As a whole, this morning -- I like it. The first Lesson I learned -- this painting would have been so much easier on a big canvas. When I say big I mean 20 x 20 or 18 x 24 -- maybe even really out of my zone and bigger than that. This little 8x10 board was hard to do what I wanted. I'm going to consider this sweet thang an understudy for larger things to come.

The second Lesson -- get some heavier body acrylic paint and try this challenge again.

Now that I have tried the Second Floor Challenge -- I'm anxious for the next. THANKS ladies for getting me off the couch last night! Have you taken the challenge yet?

Wednesday, May 16

Switching it UP today

I have drifted away -- quite a bit away -- from making things that really make me happy. Don't get me wrong, art journaling makes me really happy -- extremely happy -- on the verge of being ecstatic -- ha ha --  but I also love playing with patterned papers, sewing on paper and everything to do with paper crafts. It's very tactile and satisfies a LOT of the crafty senses I have.

I love getting creative and adding an artistic touch to just about everything I do, even in the kitchen. I'm known for throwing a bunch of ingredients together for dinner that everyone loves. When my family wants me to make it again I can't because I didn't write the recipe down. I've started writing down my recipes. Or I change the ingredients to fit my needs -- for what I have in the pantry. Don't get me wrong -- there are a few disasters here and there -- but mostly my family is happy with my cooking experiments.

Mostly, I'm satisfied with my artsy and crafty experiments too.  

I take that willingness to experiment to my studio as well. There is nothing off limits -- if I can think of it I will try it. Why not, what have I got to loose but a few dollars on paper? I'm going for it.

Speaking of that, this is a pretty card from my newest card class at My Creative Classroom -- ARtful Cards. This class had a lot of stamping, painting, spraying, collage, sewing, distressing experiments in it. You name it -- it's in this class -- and many of the processes came out of playing and experimenting with the way things work and pushing the limits. This was one of my top two favorites from that class --  you can see I carried my love for fortunes and used one as the sentiment on this card.
I am a firm believer that having a lot of skills - or knowing a little bit about a lot of things - is definitely in my favor. It makes me versatile -- and flexible -- and really able to craft and make art with anything.
So, what have you experimented with in the kitchen, studio or garden today? Push yourself to try new things -- get out of the box -- and try something new with something old. I think you will be pleased with the outcome. And if you aren't pleased, I bet you can say you learned something from your playtime.

Thanks for stopping by - have a GREAT Wednesday! 

Monday, May 14

when the CAT's away...

I've been away -- playing. No art journal, no video production, no assignments. Just lots of photos, the company of a great friend -- and lots and lots and lots of antiques and other junk.
We went to the Brimfield Antique Show in Brimfield, Massachusetts for two days last week and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G to see all the sites we saw. To be inspired by the colors, shapes, textures, images - everything was a delight to the senses -- if you like junk that is. And the people watching was a fun opportunity too.
We were having so much fun we opted to have donuts for lunch on Friday so we wouldn't have to stand in line and wait -- that would take time out of our precious few hours left there. That being said -- they WERE the BEST donuts I have had in my entire life. Notice I didn't say donut -- I said donuts.

We met this cute Gladiator along the way, he didn't talk much and didn't have much of a personality either. 
Lots of patterns, color and beautiful design elements that I fell in love with!
I also fell in love with this HUGE S that I plan on putting on the side of my garden shed. It was also fun taking a picture holding it up in front of that huge mirror -- it must have been 10 feet tall and 7 feet wide. It was gorgeous!
We made many trips back to the car to unload our goodies -- we even found one of these sweet carts abandoned in a field.

I think I take a picture of these fun waving hands every year -- they crack me up. I haven't bought one yet -- maybe next time. Speaking of time, this clock was amazing!
I also loved these pretty flowers, not sure what they are -- but love them and will be SKETCHING them soon enough!

I also saw these beautiful fox gloves on Mother's Day -- one of my many favorite flowers ;-) 

As you can see, I've gotten a lot of inspiration from my few days away of renewing and recharging my creative engine -- now I just need to find the time to make some pretty art from all that!  

Thanks for stopping by -- hope you have a WONDERFUL week and are inspired by something out of the ordinary  you see this week!