Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Have a Heart; And a Story: Going Up!

For the challenge today, design a tag with the main focus being a heart.

(click for details)

For details on how I made this, or to join in on the challenge, please go to 
AND we are trying to start a Facebook Page, so go check it out and "like" us and tell your artist friends so that they can join the tag making fun!

Going Up!
30th in the Tuesday Story Series

When I was growing up, we always looked forward to the Charleston County Fair, held during the last couple of days of October and into the first week of November. It seemed that we almost always had a cold snap right at the time, and the cooler weather increased the anticipation of going to the Fair. There were two main parts of the Fair - the Amusement Rides and the Farm and Home displays, which included everything from pigs and cows to flower arrangements and home canned pickles. It was this second area which involved my father's office, since he was the County Farm Agent for Charleston County. 

When we went to the Fair, the Farm Animal tent  was the place we went first, since it was the most important part to my Dad. When I was young, that was fine, but as I got older, I cared less about the cows and more about riding something fast! However, this story is about how I rode something fast to get to the Fair.

During Fair week, Dad would spend all day at the Fairgrounds, and then come home for dinner before going back. One afternoon, Mom told us that just my brother and I were going to the Fair that evening, there were children in diapers and Mom was not eager to drag us all out.  For my brother and me, having Dad all to ourselves was a bonus, and at that time I was still young enough to look forward to seeing the cows, goats and bunnies, although I found the flower arrangements rather boring.

As the evening drew near, my brother and I changed into warm clothes and were ready and waiting. Mom told us Dad was on his way and would be there any moment. After about 10 minutes, we heard a "whump, whump, whump" sound getting closer and closer and ran outside as the sound became so loud we would hardly hear each other. And then, in the empty lot next door, a helicopter landed and out stepped Dad!

That year at the fair, helicopter rides were available for riding around the fairground. My father had made arrangements with the pilot to fly all the way to our house (an hour drive from the Fairgrounds) just to take my brother and me back. To say we were excited would be a gracious understatement! It was twilight when it landed, with just enough light for the neighbors to see what it was invading their street. There was more than one person standing on their porch with their mouths hanging open!

After we took off, I was simply spell bound. It was the first flight we had ever taken and the pilot flew near the tree tops, but high enough that we could see familiar landmarks. Lights outlined bridges, buildings, and streets in lovely patterns and we could see across the Charleston peninsula into Mt. Pleasant. As we approached the Fairgrounds, the amusement rides all looked like lit up toys, moving and turning with colors swirling. It was, and still is, the best flight I have ever had, because it was the first flight. 

I have no idea what it must have cost my frugal father to arrange such a flight, but it was one of the best gifts he's even given us!

Hope your Tuesday goes well!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Still Playing With Tissue Paper

Just a little fun postcard made with strips of patterned tissue paper!

(click for details)

Also, praying for those in the path of Irene. Our friends on the coast are getting some rain from it today. I don't wish the destruction on anyone, but if there has to be a storm, I was hoping we would get some rain too, but alas, it's not to be. Our forecasts for this area of the upstate are for the same old hot and dry!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Letter A; and a Story: The Image In The Mirror

For the challenge today, it was the letter A and an image of something starting with it.

(click for details)

For details on how I made this, or to join in on the challenge, please go to 
AND we are trying to start a Facebook Page, so go check it out and "like" us and tell your artist friends so that they can join the tag making fun!

The Image in The Mirror

29th in the Tuesday Story Series

My parents had grown up during the Great Depression and the motto of those times stretched far into my childhood in the 1950's. Many people of the Depression era embraced that saying: "Use it up, wear it out. Make it do or do without." I think probably many people today are putting those same words to use.

Mom and Dad applied that principle to just about everything. I don't remember seeing a repairman come around to our house very often, my father could make parts of things fit altogether different appliances, something I just took for granted. Another area where the costs were kept down were in haircuts.

Mom trimmed my sisters' and my hair - very short bangs and the length ended between the ears and the shoulder, sort of a Buster Brown look. I don't think any of us went to a professional until we were in our teens. When I was young, it didn't bother me, but as I became older I was tired of the same old style. I wanted a "real" haircut, and I began to ask my parents for one. Of course they promptly told me that it cost money and it would have been money unnecessarily spent.

Then when I was about ten or eleven, I'm not sure exactly, I suddenly found out I was going to the Beauty Parlor! One of our neighbors, a couple of houses down from us, had a "Beauty Parlor" in her home and many of the women on our street were her clients, including my Mom. I cannot remember the occasion for this sudden exciting event, perhaps I was having a picture made or it was for a school event, I don't know. But I do remember how excited I was!

I felt so grown up when I climbed into the chair and had my hair washed by someone entirely outside of my family. She combed out my hair and starting trimming it, all the time talking with me as if I were important person. My mother sat in the chair smiling, and the other ladies there smiled with her. The stylist put rollers in my hair, and told me that it was time to sit under the hair dryer. Leading me to a chair and pulling down the large silver dome, she flipped a switch and I could feel warm air swirling around my ears. My, this was exciting! I caught my mother's eye and started talking to her. "Mom! I have curlers in my hair - does that mean I will have naturally curly hair??"

My mother looked startled and put her finger to her lips. I didn't understand, but she quickly came over and told me I was shouting. Of course, with the dryer noise I didn't realize how loud I was speaking! And she leaned over and said "No, your hair won't stay curly."

Well, that was disappointing.

After a few minutes, though, I focused on the finale to come - when my hair was dry and styled. After fidgeting around under the dryer for a while, the time finally arrived, and I was back in the stylist's chair. One by one, the rollers came out, and then she began combing. My back was to the mirror and I began imagining how beautiful I would look. It seemed like forever before she finished and said "There! You look so pretty!"  And she swung my chair around to face the mirror.

I blinked.

I stared.

I didn't know what to say. Then, I burst into tears!

To this day, I cannot remember exactly why I was so shocked. I'm sure it looked just like any little girl's haircut, but all I could think of was it wasn't me! The poor stylist was upset and my mother was embarrassed, but I couldn't stop crying. I eventually calmed down and we left. I don't think my mother ever really understood what happened, and I certainly couldn't explain it to her. I was very disappointed and my mother was exasperated. After that, it was long while before I went to a "Beauty Parlor" again!

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Painting Redux

OK, it seems that I'm not afraid to publish my not so great art pieces to the world! After looking again at the piece I did yesterday, and getting some feedback which agreed with my own gut feeling about it, I added a bit more to the painting - now I like it better!

Mother and Children
(click for details)

Now it seems a little more grounded and comfortable in its space!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Another Painting - Study of Shapes

Having finished another lesson in the  Chaos and Calm, Over the Edge Painting Techniques workshop, I share it now with you.

We have been doing a study of shapes in what we see, rather than just the object themselves. For my inspiration, I liked the flow in the following simple illustration which came from an early Old Mother Goose book:

Mother And Children
(click for detail)

The above one was scanned, here's another view, taken outside:

(click for detail)

It shows a bit more color. Anyway, I'm pleased with it!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Art and Cleanliness - Compatible?

Arrrgghghh ............. I did it again! Working on something and getting it messy in my exuberance. This time I was making a postcard out of foam core board and stamped tissue which I had torn into pieces. I don't think I have ever created a postcard where I didn't get smudges or worse on the back where one is supposed to write a message. In this case, I was adhering the tissue strips with polymer medium, and some of the tissue ran so my fingers became stained and before I knew what was happening, I found smudges all over the back. It was a new process for me and I was having quite a bit of fun. The instructions called for doing it on mat board, but I only had foam core board, so that's what I used.

Not that it would have made any difference to use what it called for- I would have smudged whatever I used. I have a painting I'm working on right now, and there are spatters where I don't want them, and other things, but I can correct them with patience and more paint. But a postcard back ............. well, that rather defeats the purpose of creating something fairly quickly which you can then send off to a friend, if you have to stop and paint the back to make it look decent! Bah!

Well, anyway, here is the piece. The girl's face image was already a bit disfigured on the photo, and it's kind of hard to get the true color when you have used Gloss Polymer Medium.

(click for detail)

Hope you had a nice Saturday!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Vintage Photo, and a Story: In Good Hands

The challenge today was to use a vintage photo on our tag:

(click for details)

For details on how I made this, or to join in on the challenge, please go to 

28th in the Tuesday Story Series

My husband John traveled several times a year in his previous job and always wanted me to join him on these trips. I usually went, and in the days Tabitha was too young to travel, she stayed with friends while we were gone. I remember in 1987 a trip we made to Washington DC at the beginning of Thanksgiving week. We stayed at the L'Enfant Plaza, which is on the Mall and I had a wonderful time in our nation's capital. The weather was gorgeous and I visited everything I could while John was in meetings all day. We were to return home the day before Thanksgiving. 

When Wednesday arrived, we woke up to a very dreary and dismal day. By the time we got to the National airport, right across the Potomac Basin from Washington, the weather was completely foul, and we found out that on this, the busiest travel day of the year, all of the planes were running a couple of hours behind. Once we boarded the plane and I looked out of the window, I could barely make out the Washington Monument which was just across the water. We were exhausted and John promptly fell asleep in the seat next to me. I wondered how in the world the pilots would know how to get us safely into the air on the short runway and in such poor visibility. I hadn't realized I voiced my concerns out loud until the passenger in the seat on the other side of John spoke up in reply. He assured me that the pilots were very experienced in flying by instruments and that all would be well. 

I leaned around John and saw a tall, thin, nice looking man about our age, with a reassuring smile. I thanked him, but I had to ask him just how he knew about instrument flying (I was still somewhat nervous about it). He then introduced himself to me:

"My name is Steven Nagel and I'm an astronaut. I've piloted the Space Shuttle three times."

Well, that was reassuring!

The plane began its takeoff and soon we were above the storm clouds and in a clear sky. All the way to Atlanta, he and I chatted. During the conversation we talked about what it was like to see the world from such a different perspective and he also told me that he was a Christian. He shared with me about how important God was in his life and that he led a Bible study for fellow astronauts in Houston. Such a rare glimpse of God's creation he had been able to have, and it was very clear that he savored every moment of it. I told him about our daughter Tabitha and he asked for our address, so that he could send some materials to her. 

As we approached Atlanta, John finally woke up. I introduced him to our traveling companion as the wheels touched the ground. We all shook hands and he went off to his connecting flight to Houston and we headed to our flight to Charleston. 

Col. Nagel was good on his word and soon we received a photo of him, which he signed for Tabitha, and a photo of the Space Shuttle taking off on a night launch and I put them both in a scrapbook I was making at the time. He is retired now from the Air Force and lives in Canton IL. I was sorry to see the Shuttle Program end recently, and I'm sure he was too. For further information about Col. Nagel, see this link.

It was a wonderful experience to have my fears quieted by a fellow Christian who knew we were indeed in very good hands!

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Kikie!

My friend Kikie is a very nice young man I met through Postcrossing. We have become Pen Pals, although I confess he is much more punctual about writing than I am. Although he lives out west, 6 states away from me, it turns out that we even have a mutual friend whom we had met years ago in Charleston! He is a super nice guy and I hope that someday we can meet in person. For right now though, I sent him a handmade Birthday Greeting:

(click for details)

Inside it reads:

happy birthday

now go have a piece of cake
real slow-like. 

I had fun making the card and I hope he enjoys his birthday greetings from the South!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


This past Wednesday, August 10, was a milestone for me. For the first time in over 3 years, I was up on my feet more than I was lying down! On Thursday and Friday I was really worn out, but I expected it. It's overall very encouraging because over the past few weeks, I can tell an inner difference in how I'm feeling. I know that  healing will be slow, and that I may never be back to where I was before this illness struck, but I am alright with that. One of my main desires is that I remember all the lessons God taught me, and is still teaching me, through this illness.

Over the past few weeks, I have been able to do some of the many, many things which have piled up over the years - clear off a desk in the bedroom, clear off my worktable and drawing table in my studio, organize the postcards I'ver received from Postcrossing, sort through a couple of small cardboard boxes, designed some greeting cards and many other small but significant (to me) things. I have a good friend from my church who has come over several Friday mornings and helped me turn the spare room into a guest bedroom instead of a room holding a lot of stuff. Some of the time I just sat while she worked, but it was fun to be part of it. There is still more to do in there but it looks much more like a bedroom now!

And today I even did my tag for the next Tag Tuesday challenge I will host on Aug. 16th!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Crossing Them Off The List

I can see the top of my work table! I actually cleaned off the top and wiped it down! Yes, that's a big deal for me because it is my least favorite thing to do in my studio - clean up. Yet it's also one of the most important things I can do because I am forever looking for an image, a small metal part or even a pen to write with. To do mixed media art like I do, you have to have things organized somewhat or it becomes very frustrating. But these kinds of things are also the hardest to organize! So many small bits, art paper, different paints, brushes, metal pieces, images I like from magazine, cards, etc. Yikes!!

But at least I made a bit of a dent this morning. Now, my drawing table beckons ........

I also sent off some correspondence which was woefully behind, and I made a card for a friend who was kind enough to give me a small bag filled with treasures to use in my art.

(click for details)

So of course I used some of the things she gave me on the card. And now that I am looking at it, I wish I had centered the small tag a bit better, but I don't think she will mind! 

Now on to the drawing table - I hope to have it free and clear!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Postage Stamp; And a Story: TO FLY

Today's challenge was to design a tag around a postage stamp.

(click for detail)

Does anyone remember when a postage stamp was 8 cents in the US?? That stamp has been around for a while!

For details on how I made this, or to join in on the challenge, please go to 

To Fly
27th in the Tuesday Story Series

When I was in my twenties, I had a male friend who was taking flying lessons and once in a while I would go up with him and his teacher. I learned pretty quickly that you should never eat anything spicy such as tacos or pizza before you spent an hour or more in the back seat of a small plane! But after that initiation, I just fell in love with being up in the air. 

When I was a young girl, I used to love to climb trees, the taller the better. My favorite were a stand of three pines which stood in a group and were tall and lean. I would climb as high as I could and then just lean back against the tree and enjoy the swaying dance it would do with the wind. It was quiet and peaceful and the slight sighing sound the wind makes through a pine tree was music to my ears. I often pretended to be a bird, and would try to imagine what it would feel like to fly to the trees across the yard, or across the road. I hated to come down and I would look forward to the next time I could climb back up.

Flying in a small plane brought a lot of that back. Of course, there was the noise from the engine, but the freedom to move through the sky was exhilarating! Seeing the familiar landmarks on the ground from a different vantage point, the marshes and rivers as winding dark stripes and the curvature of the earth was so exciting to me. I was never ready to land.

Once my friend's instructor invited us to ride with him on a night flight over the Charleston area. Since he wasn't flying, my friend took the back seat and I was pleased to be sitting up front. The pilot needed to put in so many hours each month to keep his license and we were just along for the ride. We took off from a small airport on one of the coastal islands and it was breathtaking once we were in the air. The stars were so bright and close with no light pollution to hide them. The lights below made everything look magical. The the pilot turned to me and said "Why don't you take the yoke?"

Gulp. "What??"

"Go ahead - I'm right here in case you get into trouble."

The plane had two steering wheels, or yokes, since it was a training plane so I had one right in front of me. I put me hands on it and then began to turn the plane and was so excited I could hardly breathe. We flew a little while longer, then he told me to turn the plane in the direction to take us back to the small airport. As we approached the airport, he suddenly reached over and grabbed my yoke and gave it a couple of quick jerks. "Good!" he told me, "You have an easy grip on it, not too tight."

"Now I want you to land the plane."

OK, flying was great , but..... landing? Then I heard myself say "REALLY?? ALRIGHT!!"

He guided me step by step, telling me what to do and when. Since I had been up several times, the terms he was using were familiar to me. I actually landed the plane and with a minimum of bumps!!

When we got out, I don't think my feet were touching the ground. He went into his office and came back out, smiling.

"Here, this is for you" and handed me a small black record book. "This is your very own Log Book and I entered the date and time as your first lesson. You're a natural!" 

Sadly, I was never able to afford flying lessons and the Log Book just got tucked away and gathered dust. I thought about taking lessons recently, but after my two eye surgeries, and this illness, I don't think it's going to be possible. But I will always have that one night when I flew the plane among the stars and was able to land it without knocking any of them out of the sky!

Have a great Tuesday!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Face; And a Story: Dave Ramsey

A human face as the main image of our tag was the challenge today.

(click for details)

For details on how I made this, or to join in on the challenge, please go to 


From DaveRamsey.com

Today I'm sharing a column from Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. I was blessed to marry a man who has an extreme aversion to debt, and through the years we have put a lot of what Dave teaches into practice, before we ever knew who Dave Ramsey was. We have attended a live event with Dave Ramsey and it was a lot of fun and well worth the time. Since the budget and debt ceiling hoopla is everywhere on the news, I thought this would be worth reading. There is also a Facebook page, The Great Recovery where Dave is starting a movement for families and churches to join in and help move our country back to being debt free. 

Dumb Debt Ceiling, Dumb D.C.

Not being scared of what's going on in Washington


Quick show of hands: Who here has ever seen a movie?
All right ... that looks like everyone. Did you ever notice how a film can be scary, or action-packed, or suspenseful, or you wonder if the two lead characters will end up together—but since you are just watching from your theater seat, it really doesn't affect you?
That's a good way to sum up all the talk in Washington right now about thedebt ceiling. All this noise about not being able to pay Social Security checks, or how we'll suffer a catastrophic default on our debt (*COUGH*) if we don't raise the limit by August 2, or anything else is just a bunch of stinkers blowing a lot of smoke.
Yes, we need to reduce the national debt. It's very important to do that. But just like the masked killer isn't really bumping off teens at a summer camp (it's all makeup and camera angles), all the doomsday talk isn't as badas it's being made out to be.
Now, for someone who totally relies on government assistance to live, their gut is probably being wrenched right now. The thought of not receiving their check (which wouldn't be a big deal if they saved forretirement) would terrify them.
But for the person who makes their own living instead of having the government take care of them, they can sit back with some popcorn and watch all the fuss in Washington with some amusement.
We keep hammering on this point for a reason: Don't put yourself into a position where you rely on Washington to take care of you. They wouldn't care about you if they knew your situation firsthand. Republicans and Democrats are too busy arguing with each other, so solutions to your problems won't come from them. They come from you!
Your life means too much, and you are too capable, to just settle for a life provided by D.C. Go out and build your own wealth. Make your legacy great. Make it unique to you instead of being cookie-cutter.
That's the difference between you and debt. There's no ceiling on how high you can go.