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Saturday, December 24, 2011

much to be thankful for...

As we prepare for family to begin arriving today for our annual
Christmas Eve Party,
Allen and I would like to wish you a blessed
with your own family 
and/or friends.
I'd like to share the last scene from one of my favorite 
Christmas movies of all time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

day eight of the twelve days of Chrismas ornament swap

Next in line is one of the original Twelve Days of Christmas ornament swappers,
Her ornie came wrapped inside an envelope made out of a page from a vintage German Bible.  Then tucked inside of it was another littler envelope made from what looks like
vintage wallpaper.
I don't know about you, but I am loving these extra "layers" I have to travel thru 
before I get to the goodie!
What was tucked inside was a domino dressed up (faux painted) to have the look of a sweet book.
 Maybe that isn't what Lou meant it to be,
but that is what my vivid imagination came up with =)  
She cleverly attached an inked clip on top, 
which helped her attach a beaded loop hanger.
The sparkles she added on top of an added vintage image and German text, gently grabs the twinkling lights of our Christmas tree.
And, here is the back.
My thought exactly Lou!

day seven of the twelve days of Christmas ornament swap

Oh, isn't this tag from the next ornament swapper, Sally Turlington,
just so perfectly perfect?
 When Sally's package reached my door, 
I immediately loved the yummy green Christmas tape that circled gloriously around the box. 
I get so excited about the littlest of details...
 It was just like Sally to add one of her little photo note cards of a spiritual nature, 
with a special hand written message inside =)
Once I broke thru the mailer box, 
I found a little white box all tied up in red & white baker's twine....
inside was my ornament, all wrapped up in pretty Christmas paper,
affixed with the coolest puffy sticker.
But, what was really inside...well was just the best.
A delicious snowflake that looked good enough to eat!  Really.
It looked like it had just popped out of the oven.  
 A gingerbread snowflake I say!  LOL....including loads of sprinkles.
Adorned with a vintage religious charm, vintage red button and tiny green jingle bell.
Oh, what an awesome mixture of waxy wonderment.
Sally began with a double-sided brass snowflake, adding paper clay, Lumiere acrylic paint, and several layers of beeswax.
Then added crusty sprinkles of micro beads, collage bits and mica flakes...
with more beeswax.  
On both sides.
 I hung it on our tree with great joy and much appreciation for the amount of work she put into these "flakes", as she called them.
You can see her whole story here.  It was quite the process.
Thanks Sally.  I'll love it always.

Monday, December 19, 2011

day six of the twelve days of Christmas ornament swap

Here I am....back to sharing the beautiful ornaments I received from the 
Twelve Days of Christmas Ornament Swap 
hosted by Deryn Mentock
Day six belonged to the talented Crystal Neubauer.
Crystal is a talented mixed media artist who graced us each with a hand-painted 
paper star.
 Three layers, painted on each side, with a middle layer of scalloped text.
Hand stitched and embellished with bits of paper, fabric, and a huge creamy pearl.
What I loved most was how she embellished one of the corners......
She stitched three french knots.  I love french knots.
When I was about nine years old, I went over to the house of my grandmother (Rosa) for the day.  On that day she taught me how to embroidery, which included how to make french knots!  
They were, and still are, my favorite knot!
Thanks Crystal.  
I will always think of you AND my grandmother when I hang your star on my tree each year.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

last minute gift ideas

Need a last minute gift?
Lookie here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

day five of the twelve days of Christmas ornament swap

At this point in the swap, I am really beginning to feel so very humbled to be a part of it all...and to realize just how beautiful these ladies really are.
Little did I know that Melissa David lives just down the road from me.
Well, actually on the other side of the county, 
but living anywhere in Texas makes her a sister =)
But way more than any of that, Melissa has a beautiful spirit, 
which sweetly manifested itself into this most awesome ornament.
 "My refuge ~ God's feathers"
 It's actually a little "winged" book, made of multiple layers of netting, cheese cloth, vintage lace, felt, muslin and organza.
A tiny stitched pillow dangles gently on top, and just below the vintage mother of pearl button that holds the winged layers together so perfectly.
Within the wings Melissa has attached words from two passages in the Bible that she held close to her heart during a difficult time this past year.
Pain often results in beauty, and it is here where I say 
What a story of faith.  What a story of surrender.
What a story.
Thank you Melissa, for being an inspiration.  
Thank you for such a beautiful ornament.
I will cherish it always.

Monday, December 12, 2011

day four of the twelve days of Christmas ornament swap

This ornament came creatively wrapped in a hand stamped brown paper bag, 
randomly splattered with white paint.  The ornament from 
was to be the one to open on the fifth day, 
until some needed changes had her scoot up to number four.
I've always adored how Pilar incorporates Milagros into her work, 
and she didn't disappoint me with this year's ornament.
See how she stitched our gift bag together with threads of red
then tying a piece of torn muslin, also stamped with red Milagros, 
adding a Milagros charm with lots of red thread with lots of loops and loose ends,
 onto our package?
Once inside I found this....
Stitched layers of hand-painted fabric.
This lovely lady has carefully stitched 60s-style flipped hair, 
along with a big Christmas bow right on top of her head.
She wears a skirt made from tattered strips of recycled sari and Dupioni silk,
which just so happens to dangle below a belt made from a small row of rhinestones.
How clever.
And, the colors are so perfect....ancient gold, brown, taupe. 
Pilar, I especially love how you stitched the bustier.
Thanks so much!  
I just ♥ my Joyous Christmas ornament!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

day three of the twelve days of Christmas ornament swap

You know....
tinsel makes me happy!
I forgot how much until I opened my package from JoAnna Periotti.
I must admit, JoAnnA knows EXACTLY what makes my heart go pitter patter....
 My ornament came wrapped in a vintage envelope addressed to Mr. Arthur D. Shamp who lived in Louisiana in the year of 1921.
How ccol is that?
Each of our ornaments were a signature soldered creation of JoAnnA's.
Of course they were adorned with bits and pieces of vintage seam binding, soft silk tulle, and old mother of pearl buttons.
She stamped our initial on the vintage charlotte doll picture inside,
then covered her with a glass prism blanket that she made look just like vintage mercury glass.
Just below she attached/soldered a small loop of silver ball chain, which has more softness made with hand-dyed silk, tulle, net and a small mop button. 
So now, here she is...all laid on top of my favorite white chippy topped stool. 
She looks beautiful there doesn't she?
But, you know where she is now...happily hanging on my Christmas tree destined to become another one of my very favorites!!
Thank you JoAnnA.
I LOVE it!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

day two of the twelve days of Christmas ornament swap

Day two found me opening the ornament sent from the talented
Oh, this feels like Christmas!
The wrapping was bold and brilliant, but once I opened the package, I found a delicate ornament made with great care and creative thoughtFULLness.
After reading her post and how her ornaments were born, 
well...it became ever the more meaningful to me.
 The house began after Kelly found this picture of two sisters. 
I have two sisters.
Kelly talks about missing her own sister, and calls her my "Sister Friend".
That is so beautiful.
She made each of our ornaments just a tad bit different.  
I can relate to that....making 13 in a row can be challenging =)
  How can I not be touched by Kelly sharing that she used 
magic threads from her husband's Grandmother 
 to stitch the cardboard together when making each house?
Actually, as much as I adore the front, 
I really love the back of the ornament!
Torn and well worn, she wrote some of the lyrics to one of her favorite 
Christmas carol's.
Then, stamped each with a vintage 1950s holiday stamp.
Little did she know she chose a stamp for the back of mine 
from the year I was born =)
 Thanks Kelly.  
Love it!

Monday, December 05, 2011

day one of the twelve days of Christmas ornament swap

I have loved Ruth Rae's art for some time, and thoroughly enjoyed her book
So when I received her package in the mail, it was hard to resist opening it up right away!
The wrapping was way cool.
 For starters, 
she had a perfectly torn piece of muslin, 
stamped with the words "Be Brave"
tack stitched to the bubble wrap!
 Inside I found this " most thoughtful " ornament.
A small box that now holds layers of plaster wrap, 
gently coated with my favorite robin's egg blue paint.
Right in the center sits a bright red hand sculpted paper-clay heart
that Ruth painted, then dipped into wax...her ode to a Sacred Heart
 It's been circled with wire, intertwined with 
a sprinkle of pearls and crystals.  You will also see several nails and a crystal bead crown.
A gentle dusting of mica around the lower bottom edge of the box, 
reflects light in the most subtle way.
I simply adore this added ruffle of fabric at the bottom,
which holds bits of text and one single crystal bead.
Now it hangs sweetly on our tree!
 Certain to be one of my many favorites.
Thank you Ruth.
I ♥ it!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

ornament swap and classes in 2012

I have patiently been watching this stack grow for the last 
couple of weeks.
My friend, Deryn Mentock, asked me to (step in) participate in the annual 
Twelve Days of Christmas Ornament Swap,
as she recuperates from what sounds like excruciating shoulder pain.
I was sad (for her) yet thrilled she asked me to be a part of it, 
as I have watched from afar each year as she opened the swap ornaments, one by one, from 11 or sometimes 12, very talented artists...
Ruth Rae
  Maija Lepore
  Kelly Snelling
Joanna Pierotti
Pilar Pollack
Jackie Allison
  Crystal Neubauer
 Sally Turlington
 Lou McCulloch
Danita Salcido
 Deryn Mentock
So now, I am anxiously waiting for tomorrow,
as that's the day the group decided to begin opening the ornaments this year!
*(I will be posting pics each day)*
Soon after I had my 12 ornaments out the door, I began reminiscing on the past year.
My husband and I crisscrossed the United States, 
as I taught at quite a variety of venues,
finding out that after teaching at the last retreat in September....
....I needed a little rest =)
Well, that lasted for about 2 weeks....or less.
I began working on preliminary details for a couple of online classes 
that I will be teaching next summer at 
Two of my favorite classes,
Etched and Layered Cuffs


You can be sure that I'll be packing in as much information in these two classes
as I possibly can!
On another note, for the first time in over 15 years,
I was able to get our Christmas tree up by December 1st!
It felt great hanging the ornaments I've pulled out of boxes for more years than I can count.
This little snowman was made by my Melanie 
(who is 36 today~HaPpY BirThDAy Mel) 
 in elementary school....*sigh*.
I love decorating for Christmas, and always vow I will do it earlier.  But, I must admit,
it is just not that fun climbing up into the attic and pulling out way more boxes of decorations than are needed.  Yes, I have some culling to do.
Which I will finally do, in January =)
Now, onto more class details for 2012.
I have been on the phone and emailing potential teachers for the
Spring and Fall art retreats at The Prairie.
As mentioned in my earlier post, Deryn Mentock and I will be teaching in the Spring.
Three days of classes.  Special after hours activities.  And MORE.
The lovely Karen Valentine is busy working away on our new site.
Details will continue to trickle in as they develop.
And finally,
I've been busy working on a new class that will debut at The Prairie.
 Just can't get enough of it.
See you tomorrow.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

using what i have

"Heart Strings"
I have the tendency to buy way more than I need ~ of anything.
I sometimes sit in my little design space and think I feel the walls literally closing in on me.
Seems once a new idea flies into view, I go all out!
Delving into a new assignment this past week, 
I have tried to turn over a new leaf.   Don't laugh.
I told myself, use what you have.
You have much....just look...you will find all you need.
And more.
I did. I have.  I am happy.
 Other news is that my dear friend, Barb Solem and I visited 
 this past Wednesday to begin work on her new venture, 
an art retreat (to begin the Spring of 2012)
Beautiful and inspiring...the day was.
An unusual (for Texas) 
cool breeze was gently blowing.
I literally wanted to jump into every bed Rachel had dressed in each of the 
quaint little cottages on site.
 This picture was actually taken in the downstairs bedroom of the big house
 There are two more additional bedrooms upstairs.
Then onto the 
I don't know what to say about this darling cottage, 
once a barn...except...
I want one!
 Every bed, including this day bed in the barn, 
is full of Rachel's pillows.
Next, we stepped into the Cornflower Cottage
where Barb had stayed the night.
 And, lastly...
Reserved for The Prairie event next Spring by Barb, 
for she and the instructors.
Then it was back to the 
 Once a horse barn, creatively redesigned into a communal meeting/eating space by the previous owner, Lenore Prudhomme
The classes will be held here, with plenty of space to spread out back.
And, of course, 
Rachel had angel wings everywhere.
Simply divine.