Sunday, January 18, 2015

Bear with me.. I bring you the prototype of my Snowbelly collection! He's actually pretty old, but I'm thinking about making him some more friends as the months go by. Any ideas for the various months?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Paint Club - Poor Y'all! (long post)

Aly's Fire Dragon
I have played my share of Role Playing Games (think: Dungeons & Dragons) over the years, but this year I have gotten really involved with one called Pathfinder: Rise of the Rune Lords. The players include my husband Rob, my 17 year old daughter Elle, Elle's boyfriend, and our best friends. We've been using little cardboard cutouts to represent where we are in a room, forest, wherever. I don't particularly like the cutouts and wanted to personalize my figure to better represent my character. Luckily, we live only 20 minutes from a company that manufactures figures for RPGs and has a retail store. Our friend Christina had even worked there! So off we went to Reaper Miniatures. Not only are the staff incredibly kind and helpful, (to the point of giving my four-year old, Aly, paints of her own, albeit used) they also have a Paint Club, led by one of the best painters in the industry, Anne Foerster. We came to Paint Club to paint our models, and Aly came along because all six of the adults were going and there was no one to watch her. It wasn't crowded, so we all got to work and she got to watch. We had only a few issues, and she admired the paints available to use and kept showing us her favorite colors.

Now, you need to know that Aly's favorite art medium in the world is paint. She got paints, nice brushes (for a four-year old) and a giant pad of paper for Christmas. But she saw us all painting figures and wanted to be just like the big people (it's hard to be four in a house of adults.) Reaper has a great line of plastic miniatures called Bones, so I let her pick one to paint. She chose the Fire Dragon. He's nice and big for a miniature, so I thought this would be great. So she and I went off to Paint Club yesterday.

Let's just say it didn't go well. Several of the people there thought it was incredibly adorable that a four-year old wanted to paint a figure. But Aly didn't want to just paint a figure. Being the chatty and opinionated child that she is, she wanted to talk to people and tell them what colors THEY should use. The casual painters didn't mind, and thought she was cute. But it really bothered the serious painters, to the point Anne had to say something to her. Anne was completely in line - Aly was interrupting people, and I was trying to fix a problem and hadn't realized how obnoxious she was being at that moment. So we packed up and went home.

Anyway, this is a very long post to apologize to everyone at Paint Club for her behavior and assure them that she isn't coming again until she learns some manners. I will be back whenever I can!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How much stain remover will we need?

Yesterday was Three Kings Day, or Epiphany, or El Día de los Reyes (The Day of the Kings). This holiday commemorates the visit of the Magi to the child Jesus, and in some traditions, it is the day that Jesus was baptized. Children in some Spanish-speaking countries receive their gifts on this night, brought by the Wise Men's littlest camel. Some cultures believe that all Christmas decorations must be removed from the house by this date (I personally follow the other tradition that says you have until Candlemas, Feb. 2, to remove Christmas decorations - procrastination is my friend!) It is also Twelfth Night, the end of the twelve days after Christmas which were marked with feasting and revelry. In New Orleans, a King Cake is baked and eaten, and the person who gets the slice with the bean (or doll) in it is responsible for providing the next year's cake. It also marks the start of the festivities that will end with Mardi Gras.

All I have to say is: Every mother of a preschooler is looking at that cake and thinking, "None of that is going to come off faces and hands, much less out of clothing." Any other favorite sweets for this time of year?

Friday, November 28, 2014

It's the Holiday Season! (No matter how obscure)

My mom loved to celebrate holidays - decorations, activities, everything. My husband once told me that we had a holiday for every day of the year. Mom replied that she would feel complete when she had Groundhog Day dishes.

However, one legitimate holiday she liked to celebrate came from her German heritage (several other countries have similar traditions.) Every year, on December 5th, we put our shoes outside the doors of our rooms and looked forward to the ornament and candy that St. Nicholas would fill them with the next morning. The ornament might be from a series we had already started, or something that tied into an activity or sport we enjoyed the previous year, or just something that, "looked like you." 

By the time we left home, we had our own collection of keepsake ornaments to start our own trees. My parents kept up the tradition by sending ornaments, wrapped in brown paper with straw accents (St. Nicholas comes on a horse, and Mom figured it was hungry.) We were only allowed to open them on December 6th, when they would have been in our shoes if we were home

My question for you: What is your favorite ornament? Feel free to attach a picture if you have one.

Information on the origin and stories surrounding St. Nicholas can be found here

Monday, December 16, 2013

A confession about markers...

... see, I've never liked them much. Although I have enough markers for several art classes, I just don't feel like I know how to use them. In elementary school, when the teacher said, "and you can all use markers on this project," my friends were wildly cheering and I was thinking, "you said we CAN use markers, not we HAVE to use markers, so I'll stay over here with my crayons, which are MUCH easier to control." I was the designated filler in of large spaces that had already been outlined by my much more competent teammates.

And now we come to the present day. I have books on lettering, I've attended workshops on lettering, and I still can't make myself do anything but the very simple font I developed in high school, while everybody else was decorating things with wonderful names and cute icons on their notes. I've decided I must learn to letter, so I'm taking a wonderful online class through My Creative Classroom and starting to get the hang of it.

Monday, November 25, 2013


I have been trying to clean up the mess left by spending the week at my father's house. Unfortunately, I have been home 2 weeks and only can say my studio is usable today. This wouldn't be so bad, except that I have Thanksgiving cards yet to make! They will get done, stuff always does, but everything takes twice as long when I get the whole litany of, "Mom, I thought you said you would take me to get my hair done today," "I thought we could go buy Christmas lights tonight," "Mommy, my babies need you to take care of them right now!" And I can't work as long as I once did, due to age and getting out of the hospital not to long ago.

But, enough of that. Here is an autumn ATC I made a couple of years ago for a show on PBS. It's fairly understated, but tasteful. The stamp is from Inkadinkdo, the colored pencils are from EK Success, the ribbon is a scrap I had left over, and the card itself is watercolor paper. I computer generated the text and and added the rhinestones.

(And yes, I want to be a Viking, for those of you who followed Backyardigans)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Santa's Pocket Watch

Here is my first Christmas project of the year. Inspired by a Tim Holtz project for Hobby Lobby (, I gave it a seasonal spin. Note the hour/minute hand points to 12 because Santa always makes deliveries at midnight, doesn't he? The red and green compass helps him find his way. There are some cookie sprinkles and bits of snow in the watch - he's had it a really long time. The charms just make him smile, and that's really what the season is about: making other people smile (and the birth of Jesus, but I'll save that for another post.)

I used Tim Holtz Distress Paints, Compass Coins, Game Spinners, Pocket Watch, and Seasonal 8X8" paper pad. Ranger's Liquid Pearls provided the shimmer. ICE Resin filled the charm and part of the watch. The bezel on the Santa and candy cane charm is from Spellbinders. Beads and small charms are from stuff I've had so long I'm not sure where they came from anymore. Cookie sprinkles are glass microbeads, and the snow is from Hobby Lobby, where most of the rest of the items were purchased.