Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

My son got me Photoshop Elements 10 for Christmas (I have been using 8), so I played with a picture and came up with this.  It's very nice being able to add a mask to a layer with just a click of one button!  Can't wait to learn more!
Happy new year, everyone!  See you in 2012!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas (a little late)

I love Christmas with all the great music, family stuff and worship opportunities.  What I don't like is putting my daily schedule on hold so we can experience all the Christmas extras.  One thing that worked well this year is taking time to do a daily Advent devotional.  I learned about the book God With Us, (edited by Pennoyer and Wolfe) at Mary's blog, A Splendid Adventure.  Two years in a row she has included readings from the book during Advent.  In addition, Lori from Elvie Studio shared about a little Christmas journal she was making this season.  I combined both ideas and created a little journal about my daily Advent readings.  I wanted to blog about it as I went along, but this will have to do.

Here's the cover
As you can see, it's just a little accordion fold booklet using Arches textwove paper

And here's a close-up of the pages.

It was a great project -- small enough not to stress over and simple enough to do each day (or almost each day).  I'm learning that time spent with God and time doing art don't have to be mutually exclusive.

I have tried to keep up with my blog reading, and have been enjoying the traditions, photos and ideas that you (my blog friends) have shared.  And I look forward to more great posts in the new year!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Project Pinterest

Katie Lloyd has been blogging about Pinterest for a few weeks, and I finally was able to secure my own account.  So now the challenge is to find something on the boards, pin it, and try to do the project.  I chose this: (originally posted here)
Book page wreath
First I gathered my supplies.  The only thing I had to buy was a wreath form (hers was styrofoam, mine is straw -- it was cheaper!)
I stained the edges of the pages with cheap acrylic paint (to give it a more vintage look)

Then I started rolling the pages and hot gluing them to the wreath form.  At first it didn't look great.
Twenty-four hours later (with numerous interruptions), I finally finished.  I was so involved with it that I forgot to take pictures during the process.  I went through a whole 300 page book!  And this is the finished product:
and this

I'm pretty excited about the way it turned out!  Check out the Pinterest button at the left to see what others are doing!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Calendar!

It's always a treat to look at the latest offerings from my blogger friends.  I'm usually so inspired by what others are doing.  One of the artists I follow has a gift for capturing the beauty of nature in her sketchbook -- and then she posts her pages and I'm always in awe.  Her name is Pam Johnson Brickell, and you can find her blog here.  (I'm also a little jealous because she lives in South Carolina where the winters aren't brutal and she can enjoy the outdoors year-round.)  ANYWAY, she created a 2012 calendar and had a giveaway on her blog, and I won it!  It came in the mail yesterday and it was a little like early Christmas.  Every page had me oohing and aahing -- I already have a place in mind to hang it -- right outside of my studio where everyone in the family can admire it.

Here's a couple of pages from it:

Aren't they just magnificent?  I think she is going to be making more and selling them, so be sure to check her blog for details!  I think they would be just the best gifts for nature lovers!!

Thank you, Pam!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Arboretum tree

Here's a few more pictures of our work-in-progress.  I had to leave the actually tree decorating festivities early so I don't have any pics of the finished product.  Soon!

Letter tags that we made into garlands:

Origami stars:

Putting it all together:

Stay tuned . . .

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Christmas ornaments already?!

Our calligraphy group is decorating a Christmas tree at the arboretum this year.  So all members have been invited to submit decorated tags and papers.  Some will be cut up for origami ornaments and some will be hung as is.  Here's what I've come up with so far:

I'll post more pictures as the process continues.  We're getting together Sunday afternoon to begin to pull it all together.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Photo shoot

A sweet girl who is one of my "adopted daughters" asked me to take engagement pictures for her and her fiance.  Yesterday was the only day we could meet, but - praise God - the weather was lovely (if a little chilly).  I've been playing with some of them in Photoshop and here's a few of my faves so far:

Aren't they adorable?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thankful for . . .

Had a bit of a scare this morning.  Strange things happening with my vision.  The eye doctor told me it was a posterior vitreus detatchment and NOT a retina detatchment.  (Which means I'll had to deal with some extra "floaters" in my vision instead of blindness.  Wow -- I'm very thankful!)

The moon has been gorgeous the past couple of nights and I just haven't been able to get any good shots.  But tonight I got my camera and tripod and managed to capture some of the beauty:

Magnificent harvest moon!

Thank you God!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Art Show Starts Tomorrow!

After a grueling couple of days and a lot of teamwork, we are ready for the opening night of "Illumination: The Parables" and our artist's reception tomorrow night.  This is what the storefront looked like when we began:
We cleaned and painted:
Added some artistic extras:
And turned it into a lovely, welcoming space:

We're at the southeast corner of Lemont Road and 75th in Darien.  Friday night, September 30 from 6 - 9 we'll have live music, refreshments and artists!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Early Fall Beauty

Last Tuesday morning I was rushing around getting ready for work when I noticed the play of light in the early morning mist.  It was so striking that I decided to skip breakfast and instead take my camera to the Arboretum for a quick detour to the office.  Not only was it the most life-giving thing I did for myself all week, but I got a couple of nice pictures as well.  This heron was enjoying a leisurely breakfast in the still water:
The dew was magical!

It was a great way to start the day!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Life Goes On

Wow -- life has been zooming by at an alarming pace lately.  No pictures to post today, just a note to say that I'm hoping to be back in a creative way very soon! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Upcoming Art Exhibit!

Our church is doing an art show in the fall along with our study of the parables of Jesus. The parables lend themselves so well to artistic expression since they use well-known objects and stories to portray abstract and less-understood concepts. Interested in participating?  Send me an e-mail at and I'll send you all the information. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Vacation Fun

I just returned a few days ago from visiting my "twin" cousin in West Virginia.  We call each other twins because we always wished we were sisters instead of cousins.  She and her husband (and son and cats) were gracious hosts!

While there, we went zip-lining,
Walked the catwalk under the longest single-span suspension bridge in the Western hemisphere,

Did art work at the lovely little cottage on their property,

 and had an amazing time!  It's good to be home, but I miss my twin cousin and family!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Library demo

Today the Chicago Calligraphy Collective participated in an event at the Palatine Public Library.  One of our members taught a class in Italic Calligraphy, while others of us hosted demos or made bookmarks.  We had lots of enthusiastic participants.  Here's some pictures from the event.
My friend Pat helped participants create "Flexagons", which are complex creations where you can hide secret messages.
Our bookmark calligraphers worked hard all day.

And I had a steady stream of kids and adults eager to learn the secret of making tiny watercolor blossoms.

Here's what some of my samples looked like.  (Sideways picture again  . . .  sigh)
Everyone had a great time and learned a lot as well!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A New Gig

When you love to incorporate art into everything in your life, it can be quite an adventure.  I work in the office of a gymnastics club for kids, taking registrations, answering questions, printing out rosters, etc.  It's a great job.  Last week I took on some new responsibilities, and that's how I ended up in front of the gym on a stepladder with containers of brightly colored acrylic paint.

I still have a lot of window space to go, but it's getting noticed.  In fact, someone drove by and stopped in to see if I could do the windows for his restaurant.  It's not exactly the kind of calligraphy I was thinking I'd be doing, but I'm having a great time.  So if you're in the western suburbs of Chicago, on Rolwing Road north of North Avenue, look for my signs!  (Or if you know someone looking for a great place to learn gymnastics, this is it!)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

More Mosaics

I said I would post some of the other projects from the class I took over the week-end and here they are.  Most of the participants made benches, and two of us did birdbaths.

This is Ginny's birdbath.  I love the red and white motif!  She used three identical plates for all her pieces. and a few flat marbles for the center.
 We had one man in our class.  He decided on a farm motif.  I think it's very whimsical.
 His wife was working very precisely and therefore had to take her piece home to finish it.
 Twin sisters who had done this before brought some of their own hand-made garden themed pottery pieces and added them to their benches.  One is grouted and one is not (and one is upside down!)
 This bench in shades of blues and greens will be an inviting place to sit in a garden.
 Here's one final shot of my birdbath.  It's sitting in my living room because I have to let the grout cure, then seal it before I can put it in the yard.  Sorry, birdies, you'll have to make do with the plastic one that's out there now!