Monday, November 21, 2016

Line Dancing

Staff meetings, waiting rooms, airplane rides, talking on the phone - all perfect opportunities to doodle and play with line drawing. I love pressing my brain to create fun patterns, using my journal as my playbook. 

Some may call this Zentangle but I don't conform to any particular rules, just allowing my mind to envision pattens and willing my hand to follow through. 

One of my students stared at the blank pages of her journal saying that she didn't know where to start. I told her not to think about it too hard - just put the pen to paper and begin drawing random shapes. Once you get going with nothing particular in mind, magic happens! These shapes are then sectioned out, filled in with staight lines, circles, zig-zags, and other patterns resulting in wonderful designwork.

Alicia's doodle page

I've created several pages of patterns that I reference when doing new work. It's addictive!

Pinterest or searching the internet for doodle patterns are excellent places to get ideas from. 

Having several sizes of pen tips is a plus. This allows you to make very detailed patterns and designs. I like using Pigma micron pens because of the variety of pen tips, they are permanent ink (which is great if you want to watercolor over your images), and they last a long time. Look for these qualities in the pens you use.


Here are more of my students' artwork - 

Donna goes wild!

Donna's creation

Sandra's lines

Marla's mandala

Open your journal, let loose your mind, and see what exciting art comes flowing out!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Falling For Wreaths

The seasons are changing - Mother Nature is beginning to show herself by way of fiery colors and crisp cold nights.

It's time to sit by a warm fire and get that glue gun out! Even if you don't have a fireplace to sit near, you can still create a fabulous fall wreath to adorn your front door, use as a table centerpiece, or present it to the host of a Thanksgiving party!

To make this wreath, here's what you will need:


  • Wreath frame - I used a 12 inch grapevine wreath but wreath frames made of  wire, straw, or styrofoam are fine to use, any size you like.
  • Various fall-colored faux leaves, flowers, berries, small foam pumpkin, gourds, etc.
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Optional: decorative ribbon for hanging the wreath
  • Tip: I found many of these items at the local dollar store - nice quality and assortment without breaking the bank!

Let's Make This

Adding the details

  • If desired, glue or wrap a pretty ribbon to the back of the wreath for easy hanging
  • Use the glue gun to adhere leaves and flowers around the front and sides of the wreath frame so that the frame is hidden.
Lin's wreath in progress
  • Add the decorative pumpkins, gourds, and other items in several places around the wreath
  • Tip: Lin used a wire wreath and wrapped orange mesh ribbon around the frame before gluing on flowers (both from a dollar store!). This gave it a nice colored background to start with and ease in gluing items to a solid backing.

There you have it! A lovely showpiece that will last for years and you can say "I made it myself!"

Monday, October 31, 2016

Journaling Pages - Using Paint, Pictures, and Credit Cards As Tools

My in-home classes are taking off with a bang and a glue gun! We're having so much fun making new artwork while gabbing and giggling, with maybe a glass of wine to promote extra creative powers!

Our first journaling class projects included making background pages with paints and credit cards. We also got hooked on making stickers using packing tape and magazines. Sooo much fun making those!

To get started making some backgrounds for your journal, follow these steps:

  • Blank journal or other book
  • Acrylic paints
  • Old credit/gift card
  • Baby wipes or paper towels

Super simple but it looks really cool!
  • Squirt a few drops of acrylic paint anywhere on the page
  • Drag the credit card across the paint and the book pages - straight line, zig-zag, curvy - have fun with the process.

  • Between colors, wipe any excess paint off of the card with a paper towel or baby wipe. Be sure to smoosh all the paint off the card on to your pages before wiping (never waste good paint, right?)
Donna adding colors to her pages
Alicia's making waves of blue

  • Drop another color on to the page and repeat the swiping over the pages. Do this with as many colors as you like, even criss-crossing colors over each other. In the image below, I first wrote words on the pages using a white crayon, placed post-it notes at various places, then swiped the paint over the pages. It took a minute for the paint to dry before I removed the post-its and used a baby wipe to remove the paint from the crayon areas. A pretty place to doodle and add images, like the packing tape stickers!

Now, you're done! You've got a great start on building some great journal pages.

Try making this next project and see if you don't get hooked on the magic!

Donna's blue floral dress sticker
To make the packing tape stickers:

  • Magazines or books with pictures (images printed on thinner paper seemed to work best)
  • Bowl of water
  • Packing tape
  • Old credit/gift card
  • Find an image that you like in a magazine. Bold colors with lots of contrast look wonderful!
  • Carefully lay a strip of packing tape over the image, just past the edges of the picture. If the image is too large for one strip of tape, overlap a second strip slightly over the edge of the first strip.
  • Use the credit card to smooth out any air bubbles from the tape.
  • Place the taped image into the bowl of water and let it sit for a minute.
  • Gently rub the paper image from the back of the packing tape. The paper rolls off but the image remains on the tape. Magic!
  • Use glue to adhere these images on to your journal pages and envelopes. How about window clings!

Get busy and get creative!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Boo-tiful Crafts to Make

With Halloween just a week away, pumpkin carving projects came to my mind as a perfect treat to make for celebrating this holiday. 

I challenged my art students to come up with their own twist on creating jack-o-lanterns. As usual, they met the summons with gusto and, before long, we had a table filled with beautiful achievements!

Alicia was very excited about this project - or perhaps it was the wine and tangerine margarita's working?!

Here's how we made decorative vases

  • Hollow, styrofoam pumpkin (I found a 6 inch size at a dollar store)
  • Serrated knife
  • Various fall-colored artificial flowers and Halloween related items
  • Hot glue gun (optional)
  • Carefully make a circle cut at the top of the pumpkin using the knife, at least big enough to put your hand inside (shown at the right is the cut-out I made on the side of a pumpkin to prepare it for a diorama)
Option 1:
  • Place artificial floral stems inside the pumpkin allowing the blooms and greenery to pop from the top 
Rosa's Fall Floral Vase - with a touch of bones

Option 2:
  • Hot glue objects to the pumpkin so that they're peeking out of the top (I rummaged through my stash of Halloween decorations and put them out for the group to find clever ways to reuse them - styrofoam skulls and bones, plastic witches and spiders, leaves, etc.) 

    Carol's Witchy Vase
Option 3:
  • Place a glass cup inside the pumpkin, tall enough to reach the rim, and fill with potting soil and a succulent or other live plant.
The floral vases make pretty tabletop displays or hostess gifts, perfect for this holiday and through the Thanksgiving season.

To make a diorama:

  • Hollow, styrofoam pumpkin, any size
  • Serrated knife
  • Various fall-colored artificial flowers, moss, vegetable netting, and Halloween related items
  • Hot glue gun
  • Battery operated tea lights (optional)
  • Carefully make an oval cut at the side of the pumpkin using the knife
  • Fill the pumpkin with whatever suits your fancy! 
  • We hot glued moss, florals, and spooky objects inside and outside the pumpkins. I cut up a bit of netting from a vegetable bag and hot glued that to the inside back of a pumpkin and then glued a spider to the "web". In another pumpkin, I placed a plastic skull from a dollar store that I painted in a sugar skull fashion on top of a bed of moss. I put a battery operated tea light on either side of the skull so that they would flicker inside the pumpkin and show off the skull. As you can see from the picture at the top of this page, it turned out quite booo-tiful!
Sandy's Floral Diorama with Skeleton Pair
Carol's Fright Night Scene

Alicia and Nicole's Spooky Creations

Don't be afraid to create your own frighteningly beautiful art!

Monday, October 17, 2016

In Honor Of My Husband

Our house is so quiet now that you're gone.
I walk silently through the hallways
Expecting to see you but knowing that I won't.
I talk to you but I can't hear your voice.

I miss you.
Your beautiful face, the one I fell in love with so many years ago,
Your touch, the one that excited and warmed me.
We loved each other so deeply,
I don't doubt that you can hear me even now. 
I see you in my mind,
I feel the whisper of your touch.

I wanted just a few more minutes with you before you left.
I wanted to tell you that I loved you just one more time.
Even though we knew that final day was near,
It came as a shock when at last you let go.
I will remember that day always.
You were having trouble speaking
And I was tearfully attending you,
But you looked me in the eye, smiled, and gently stroked my arm.
I can't remember if I told you that I loved you that day, but you knew.

Steve, you are gone from this world,
But you live forever in my heart.
Wait for me.
One day we will be together again eternally.


Steve Lawson - 1/28/46 to 08/14/16

Friday, October 14, 2016

Pour Your Art Out - New Classes Are About To Begin!

Start the fall and winter seasons off right by taking art classes taught by your favorite teacher - me!

Beginning Thursday, October 20th and Saturday, October 22nd, learn exciting new weekly projects in "Art Journaling" and "Exploring Crafts". (Thursday projects are repeated on Saturdays). The cost is $20 for each 2 hour class and will include some supplies.

For the first week's projects, here's the plan:

(Thursdays, 5:30pm - 7:30pm; Saturdays, 9:00am - 11:00am)

We will be creating background images and colors using paints, credit cards, string, crayons, various papers, saran wrap, and packing tape transfers.
  • Bring your art journal (I use the 8 1/2" x 11" Ranger Dylusions Creative Journal, but bring whatever is your favorite)


(Thursdays, 7:30pm - 9:30pm; Saturdays, 11:30am - 1:30pm)

With Halloween just around the corner, we will be making pumpkin vases and dioramas. Trust me - these are super cute!
  • Bring 2-3 carvable/hollow pumpkins, any size. (I found 6" pumpkins at the Dollar Store and larger ones at Joann's)

Future Art Journaling classes will include zentangles, magazine collage fantasies, adding color over black and white photos, using puzzle pieces, 3D image making, print making, and more.

In Exploring Crafts we'll make seasonal burlap banners, fall wreaths, music sheet angel wings, fabric painting, popsicle stick bracelets, mason jar art, canvas painting...let me stop right there!

All classes will be held in Concord - message me for details.
I'm looking forward to seeing you and getting our art on!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Feeling Lucky?

The Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines luck as "the things that happen to a person because of chance - the accidental way things happen without being planned."

Is luck truly a matter of happenstance, something that is uncontrollable, simple fate? I think not. I believe that luck, whether considered good or bad, is an opportunity given to us to improve or build upon in our lives. Here are a few other "lucky quotes": 

“I am not lucky, but I am favoured because luck runs out; but God's favour will abide with me forever.”  ― Gugu Mona

“I'm a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it”― Thomas Jefferson

"Luck is not chance, it's toil; fortune's expensive smile is earned." — Emily Dickinson

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”— Dalai Lama XIV

“Luck affects everything; let your hook always be cast; in the stream where you least expect it, there will be a fish." – Ovid

Here is my thought on luck:


What is luck?
Is it by chance
or a predestined gift?

Is it something you win
or a chance gone wild?
Why do we covet lucky numbers,
Lucky stars, rabbits feet, and the like?

What if you are unlucky?
Does it stay with you all of your life?
Or is it temporary, just for the moment?

Can you change your luck
From a negative to a positive?
Is it a mindset,
One that can be willed to good favor?

I believe that to say "I am lucky"
Is like saying "I am blessed".
Luck is not what happens to you
But how you happen to it.

Prepare yourself and look for luck. When "unlucky" things happen, learn from them and turn them in to opportunities. The gateway is open - may you have a lucky life!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Pillow Talk

Pillows. We pile them on our beds each morning so this nest will look pretty all day only to have to throw them off each night in order that we may rest. They hold up our heads, get plumped on a couch, can serve as a weapon during a fight, and are a kitty's friend when it's time for a nap. Filled with downy soft feathers or firm dense foam, pillows are one of the seemingly necessities of life. Perfect for punching, scrunching, drooling and dreaming on, what would we do without them!

Pillow Talk

A little place to rest your head,
A pretty thing to dress your bed,
To wrap your arms around with a hug,
Imagining that lover, as cute as a bug.

Now I lay me down to sleep
With hopes of sweet dreams intent to keep.
Cushy, mushy, soft and downy,
Making my hair kind of clowny.

Pillows for a car trip,
Mash it against the window so your head doesn't slip.
Weapons for a pillow fight,
Feathers flying, what a sight.

Dogs and cats curl up on one of their own,
Dreaming of cat nip or a big juicy bone.
What would a sleep be without this head rest?
Certainly not the same little nest.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Beat The Heat and Buy Something Cool!

Drew's San Francisco Blues print

It's hot here in California during the summer. I prefer this weather but, boy-oh-boy, it can get incredibly warm some days! These are fan your skirt and do-I-really-hafta-wear-a-bra kinda days. 

Today, while standing in front of the open refrigerator, pretending to look for a snack but really just enjoying the body freeze, I realized that I had the urge to buy something. Anything to make me feel good and happy. But I didn't want to brave the heat to go to the mall and rub elbows with other schweaty people. With my fan turned on high, I turned to my trusty computer for relief. Oh what a relief it is! I can shop at will in the comfort of my own home with next to nothing on (don't tell me you've never done that!). With that in mind, I thought you might like to do a little "comfort shopping" of your own. I happen to be having a summer sale of my Etsy merchandise and it's hot-hot-hot!

Scarves, handbags, jewelry, notecards, oh my!

After you've browsed there, check out my Society6 goodies. Here's a sampling of the sale on this sight: 
Wild Thang Leggings

Zen Lily Bedspread

Sunny Delight Clock

Cherry Delight Phone Case

Rockin' Rooster Tote Bag

Heavenly Hydrangeas Shower Curtain

It's not too early to begin your holiday gift buying adventure. Make your list, check it twice, and get something for everyone whether they've been naughty or nice. And, treat yourself to a little something too. You'll feel the heat of the summer melt away. That's more time to put your feet up and enjoy a frosty beverage or two!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Recipe For Joy

People who know me understand that cooking is not my favorite activity. I find it messy, tedious, and hard work. It's not that I'm a poor chef, my results are usually creative and edible. No one complains (outloud) and no one goes starving. Preparing meals is just not my calling. My favorite thing to make is reservations. 

I wrote the following based on inspiration from Mary Oliver's poem, "Don't Hesitate"

A Recipe For Joy


  • Equal parts laughter and silliness
  • 1 heaping heart of love
  • Pinch of sarcasm
  • A grain of salt
  • 2 handfuls of compassion

Blend thoroughly until waves of smiles appear.
Pour into a well seasoned soul.
Bake for a lifetime.

Serves one and all.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Christmas in July

Field of Daisies Tote Bag
I've begun offering my artwork on Society6, an awesome websight that specializes in wearables, home decor, photo prints, and gifts. It's exciting to see my photos and artwork on handbags, shower curtains, t-shirts, coffee mugs, note cards, towels, and more. 

Viva Las Vegas Wall Clock

Blue Hydrangea Duvet Cover

Bold Graphic Design Throw Pillow

Rockin' Rooster iPhone & iPod Skin

Waterlilies Shower Curtain

Take a peek at all the options I have available and let me know which are your favorites. I will be adding more goodies soon!