Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Thoughts

"To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch, or a 
redeemed social condition;
to know even one life
has breathed easier
because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded."

                         RW Emerson

Melange Challenge

The challenge word this week for the Melange Team is Illuminating. I have chosen this Butterfly ACEO on stretched canvas. It is an abstract pondering the garden view of the butterfly. It may be found in my Etsy shop.

We have been covered with snow for a week at my house. It is unusual for snow to remain more than a couple of days here. So illuminating garden views are a refreshing sight.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas to You All!

This is just too cute! Unfortunately it works in reverse at my house. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season.
I will be back in a week or so.

I received this in an email from my sister. It is originally from this site

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Teaching Children to be Creative, part 3

Sorry about the lapse in these post about teaching children to be creative. The flu has crept into my house and I've been playing nurse.

Freedom is one of the most important gifts you can give your child to encourage creativity. I have already spoken about allowing them to create without being hindered by your expectations. One way you can encourage freedom is by making them an art box. This is something they can get into whenever they choose and do what ever project they want. When my daughter was 5 I fixed a little child-sized table for her by my worktable. She had a box full of supplies to choose whatever she might be inspired by that day. She would work for long periods along side me. And rather than feeling neglected by my work time, she felt we were partners in that time. Her box was filled mostly with supplies I decided I did not need. She had scraps of pretty papers, old buttons, wooden shapes, old greeting cards, tiny papier mache boxes, and more. Then of course, there was the standard pencils, markers, glue sticks, and of course glitter. Yes, you heard me. I said glitter. I know it makes a mess. That's ok. You will live. That's why you have a vacuum sweeper. But we did save paint for more supervised times. But even that changed when she was older.

The last item I want to emphasis is to give your child quality supplies. I don't mean that you should buy professional supplies for children. But you should provide them with supplies that will help them find success. Those paint brushes with stiff nylon bristles that come with children's paint are horrible and pretty impossible for accomplishing anything except stirring glue. Or you could use the end of the handle for creating dots. The buttons that my daughter used were from my stash of vintage buttons. But I gave her the ones I knew I would never use. Shop at garage sales or thrift stores or the bargain bins at craft stores. This doesn't have to be an expensive thing. Learn to recycle. For instance, those wavy cardboard bands that come on tea and coffee -- way cool paper! Cut it into shapes, paint, and glue away. You can get outdated books of wallpaper for free from your paintstore. When I teach children's classes we use Prang colored pencils. They are by far not the quality of Prismacolor. But they will blend a bit and cover pretty well. Most other children's colored pencils are more of a frustration to the budding artist.

Here is a picture of a collage created by one of my students. In this project as a class we first drew the elephants - freehand. Then the kids took various papers of their choice and created an environment for their elephant. They had the freedom to place their elephant anywhere they wanted - a jungle, sitting on their couch, eating at the table, playing in the swimming pool. My only rule for animal art is that they can not put them in a cage or on a chain. The artist that created this piece is 8 years old. I especially like her Weeping Willow tree.

Here are a few more ideas for you before I end this series.
*Let your kids make the card before they go to a birthday party.
*Or they could make a calender for grandparents. They can draw a picture for each month of the year and you can print them with the calender pages.
* They will really feel special if you take one of their drawings and use the special printer paper, make an iron on for their tshirt of their own art.
Please do not copy or download this student's art. It is her art and not mine to let you copy. Thank you for respecting that.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Teaching Children to be Creative, part 2

Today I'd like to talk about some projects you can do with children. I have some particular standards that I refuse to compromise on with kid's art.
1. I never do projects that look like they came out of a kid's crafts magazine. These projects are usually cheesy and require virtually no imagination.
2. I always do projects that allow and even require some imagination and creative choices by the child. If I take an example to class I tell the students that no one can make one just like mine. At the very least, change the colors.
3. I always try to use quality, although inexpensive, supplies. I think construction paper should be banned from the planet. It is awful to work with, it tears, it feels bad in your hands, and the color fades quickly. It doesn't cost that much to use a better quality paper.
4. Take the effort to do finishing touches, i.e. framing, matting, varnish, etc. You will be amazed at how much difference this will make. Take a child's piece of art, add a little varnish and suddenly it looks like folk art. Framing does the same thing and gives the piece significance in the child's (and your) eyes.
5. I only use non-toxic materials with children. No exceptions.
6. I only do the preparatory steps that are beyond the skill level of the child. Any other preparations or clean up, will be done by the kids. They need to learn the process and understand how to get "to" a project from the raw materials they have.

Project 1 Mosaic Flower Pot
I don't have a picture of this project. But its pretty simple and I'm sure you can imagine it. I came up with this idea when I wanted to do a mosaic piece with my students but couldn't find any instructions for a non-toxic adhesive.

*1 clay pot (a younger child will want a smaller pot)
*white acrylic craft paint
*many colors of wrapping tissue paper - have it already cut into shapes about 1/2" - 3/4" in diameter. Its more interesting if they aren't all uniform shapes.
*Modpodge, Royal Coat, or something equivalent
*sponge paint brush

1. Have the child paint the outside of the clay pot white. Let it dry. You can blow dry it if you are impatient like me. Then give it a second coat.
2. Show your little artist some pictures or real pieces of mosaic and encourage them to plan how they will create their design. They can work some of it out on the table. But kids don't usually have much patience for a whole lot of planning. They might want to make a recognizable image or they may want to just randomly place the colors on the pot. Let them choose. Don't push them to do what you want.
3. Show them how the mosaic examples have a space of grout in between the stones. Be careful not to call the example "real" verses their piece of "pretend". Just leave that part out.
4. Pour some of the Modpodge into a paper bowl and show the child how they can brush some lightly onto the pot. Then they take the tissue paper shapes and press them against the pot and dab the top with the sponge and a little Modpodge. Show them how leaving a space between their pieces of colored paper will help the white paint to look like the grout in their example.
5. When the pot is covered with papers and all the papers are covered with Modpodge, you will have to let this part air dry. No blow drying at this stage.
6. When totally dry, cover with at least one coat of varnish. The shine will make the tissue paper look more like tile pieces.
This pot can be used decoratively or for a creative container of treasures. But it is not meant to be used out in the weather or with real flowers that will need to be watered. It would make a wonderful holiday gift for a grandparent.

project 2 Christmas Tree Ornament (If you do not do Christmas trees, this project could be done with a different shape.)

various colors narrow craft ribbons (precut all of them to the same length - 1" longer than the widest part of your shape.
white glue

1. Cut out tree or other shape out of cardstock. If your child is old enough, let them cut it themselves.
2. Use old small paint brushes to dab glue onto the cardstock. Start at the bottom where the shape is the widest. Do not do the trunk yet.
3. Lay a stripe of ribbon across the tree and glue horizontally then repeat this process using a different color as you work your way up the tree.
4. About 2/3 way up the tree, turn the cardstock shape over and cut the excess ribbons on the sides so that it is flush with the sides of the shape. You will now have some short pieces of ribbon to be used on the narrow parts of the tree, i.e. the top and the trunk.
5. When the tree is covered, turn it over and finish cutting the excess edges.
6. Create ornaments and garland with the glue and sprinkle with glitter. Kids LOVE glitter!!! Don't cheat at this point and use that glitter glue that comes in tubes. It takes all the fun out of the whole sprinkling glitter part.
7. Take one of the longer ribbon pieces and glue it into a loop at the back for hanging.
**I've posted this tree image large so that you can download it and these instructions, if you wish.

The image at the top was done by my own daughter when she was 9. I would ask that do not download it.
Remember your main goal is to have fun, be creative, and think outside the box.
If you have any questions, write to me.
If you do any of these projects, send me a picture and I will post them on here in a post of collected pictures.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Teaching Children to be Creative

One of the many hats that I wear is that of art teacher. I teach children as young as 5 and adults as high as they want to go. Studies have shown that studying art and experiencing creativity helps children to excel in every area of their lives. Over the years I've found that many parents think they can't do art with their children. They say, "Well I'm just not very creative." or "Why, I can't even draw a straight line." Well, I've got news for you. Drawing a straight line has nothing to do with it. Its more about freedom and fun than anything else. And kids are the easiest because they already feel creative freedom and already know how to have fun. You're just along for the ride!

Let's talk first about some barriers parents put up that stifle their kids creatively. A common complaint from my students is that their parents won't let them do anything messy. One can rarely be creative without being messy. So get a couple of vinyl table cloths. Throw one on the kitchen table and one on the floor and loosen up. Or better yet, when the weather allows, work outside. Come on parents, loosen up. Those kids are washable.

Another complication that parents often put on their children artistically is to expect the results to look like something straight out of a gift shop. They are kids. Their focus isn't that of an adult. Their fine motor skills aren't that of an adult. And their perspective isn't the same as an adult. So, let them be kids. Let them be artists. And see what wonderful creations they come up with.

WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T FIX THEIR WORK. It won't be perfect. Thats ok. What you want to communicate to them is that it is fun to make art and what they make is delightful. Don't critique every line they draw or every color they choose. It is ok to make a few small corrections if they are said with a positive attitude and prefaced with a positive comment.. Something like this, "I love the bright colors you are choosing. Perhaps this line should be a bit shorter."

Display their work. You, as their parents, are the single most important factor influencing their sense of creativity for years to come. Of course, there is the classic home gallery, the refrigerator. Also they will love turning their rooms into their own personal art gallery. Let your kids use their art as gifts for grandparents, teachers, or even friends. Just think how affirming it is to them to believe that their artistic work is valuable enough to be a gift. Take a few of your favorite pieces and frame them. Yes, even hang them in your livingroom.

In the next week I will talk with you more about how to help your kids grow up to be creative people. Also I will give you some tutorials for inexpensive projects you can do with them.

I've included some examples done by some of my students ages 6, 11, and 12 respectively.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mind Wide Open November Challenge

This is my first time to participate in the monthly challenge for Mind Wide Open. The image given was so lovely and really looked complete. It was quite a challenge to try to improve on it. I have manipulated the image digitally and then used it as a part of a collage on a handmade journal made with handmade paper.

A day of Memories

Last week was the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S. Traditionally it is a national holiday of thanks. But for me it has also become a time to think about what I have to be thankful for in my personal life. I try not to get so caught up in the feast and preparations of the day that I forget to be thoughtful and thankful.

This year we had planned to spend the day at the home of extended family. Two days before Thanksgiving Day, our plans changed and my daughter and I made a quick list and trip to the grocery store. All other tasks were put on hold while we baked. For the first time in many years as we set down to the table, it was just the four of us. Rather than feeling like the setting was lean, I found it to be quite nostalgic. I looked around the table at the faces of my 20 something kids and remembered the year when they were 6 and 9 and we celebrated this day with just the four of us. We did team baking that year also.

The kids and I have found community in the kitchen since they were preschoolers. We baked together for holidays, for many homeschool projects, and sometimes just for fun.

I've included pictures of the pies my daughter made this year - pumpkin, pecan, and apple,cranberry, pecan (a new one this year). And also a picture of her baking bread for her Grandpa's Christmas present when she was 2 1/2. She had a little help from her Daddy that day.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Melange Challenge

The challenge for the Melange team this time is prayer. As a mother, this collage expresses my prayer. The children are a vintage image - not my own children. The quote, "I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are walking in the truth." was typed on a vintage typewriter. The collage is for sale in my WindandHoney shop.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Soartful Challenge

The soartful challenge for this week was an old picture of 2 very cute and curious dogs. I couldn't resist. here is my interpretation of how to embellish that image. Wonder what they are wishing for.
This image will be available in my WindandHoney etsy shop in aceo size.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mixed Media Monday

The theme for the Mixed Media Challenge this week is "I am Woman". I have chosen to focus on a woman in the making, one looking forward to the future with her dreams. This original collage is 3" x 5" and is for sale in my etsy shop.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Soartful Challenges

In the Soartful Challenge this week, we were given a vintage image of a parlor. It was empty except for a few pieces of furniture and some drapes. The theme was Welcome to My Parlor. Here is my interpretation. Originally I was going to add a lovely couple dancing romantically. Then I found these two and thought they would look quite humorous dancing in the parlor. The quote says The neighbors always talked when Mama and Papa danced in our parlor. The digital print comes in aceo size ( 2.5 x 3.5).

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Crowaboutit Challenge

I've missed the Crowaboutit Challenge in the last few weeks. My entry this week is a combination of this week's images and a few from last week mixed in. Usually I enjoy getting kind of silly with my crowaboutit challenge entries. But this one is more serious and I believe to be quite true. Our lives are greatly influenced by how much we dream and how much we pursue those dreams.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


The inspiration piece for InspireMeThursday this week is the Mademoiselle Caroline Riviere. This is my entry. This is Princess Esmeralda who thinks she has a much sexier neck than Caroline's and her new dress and sapphire necklace really show it off. I created most of this image digitally and embellished Esmeralda with her jewelry. She is 5" x 7".

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Studio in a Box

A while back I showed a tiny traveling portfolio and drawing board that I created for ACEO's . I promised to show other ways to travel with your art supplies. Today I am showing pictures of my art box. This box started out as a fishing tackle box. I have had it for 10 years. It is sturdy and handy. But it was just a bit too masculine for me. So I embellished it. I know that shocks you that I would do that. : ) Since this box will never be for sale, I was able to use some images from magazines that I can never use in my art due to copyright laws. Technically, this should not work over plastic. But I tend to ignore rules when they get in my way. So, I just used ModPodge and glued away. When I was finished I covered it all with several coats of Liquitex Matte Varnish. In 4 years of lugging this box around to classes and on trips, the images remain intact. If you ever decide to look for a tackle box like this, be sure and take an unsharpened pencil along with you. Many of them do not have spaces quite long enough for the pencils. This is a Plano box. The wonderful thing about this box is that I can fit all of my many kinds of pencils and colored pencils in it, grab a pad of paper, and I'm off for a day or a week. By the way, that isn't chocolates. The chocolate tin has more pencils in it. And the round tin is my traveling trash can for sharpening shavings.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sun Burgers for Dinner Tonight

I enjoyed Sun Burgers for dinner tonight and it occurred to me that my vegan and vegetarian friends might be interested in this recipe. I got it from a vegetarian restaurant in Ft. Worth, TX about 30 years ago. The original was to serve 50! So I had to adjust it a bit. I have also adjusted it otherwise a bit over the years. So by now I guess its really my own recipe. This will make enough to serve about 6 and even have some left over for tomorrow's lunch.

Sun Burgers

Grind 1/4 C raw sunflower seeds in blender
Finely chop 1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Saute' sunflower seeds, garlic, and onion in olive oil until onions are clear.

2 1/4 C water
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/4 C tamari soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon basil

Have ready 2 1/4 C of raw old fashioned rolled oats.

Add saute'd mixture to water, herbs, and soy sauce in a large sauce pan. Bring it to a boil watching closely so it doesn't boil over. Slowly add oats while stirring. Stir only enough to mix. Do not over stir. Remove from sauce pan and put in a bowl. Refrigerate until chilled - about 30 minutes to an hour. Shape into patties and microwave for a minute or two. (Microwaves vary so much. You'll have to watch and see what works with yours.) You can also cook these in a broiler or toaster oven. Serve on bread with whatever sandwich fixings you prefer. You might want to salt them when serving.
These patties can be frozen before the final cooking process. They will stay fresh in the refrigerator for just a few days if not frozen. Enjoy!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Childish Dreams

This is my newest mixed media collage art. It is the first in a slightly different direction for me and also the first piece I have created as a direct result of my new venture into art journaling. It is a very personal statement on many levels.

The screen door started as a digital image then was embellished with paint. This quaint screen door actually lives propped between 2 trees just like this in the backyard of some artsy friends of ours. The 2 quotes are Dream the dreams of a child and There lies within each of us the potential to be more. The little girl was painted with acrylic gouache and the rest is probably self explanatory.

Although I started this piece a while back, it fits in with this week's Melange challenge 'gateway'. I hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Melange Challenges

The Melange Team is having 2 challenges right now. This week's word challenge is heavenly. Here is my entry. You have probably seen this one before. But it fits so well I decided to enter it anyway. The quote says "And on the 7th Day He rested... with a cat in His lap." I personally authored this quote and I am quite confident that this is true.

The second challenge is to use fabric in some way in your mixed media piece. The deadline is today. And true to form I am sliding in at the last minute. Here is my entry. It has felt and vintage tatted lace for fabric. It is also embellished with vintage buttons and a stamp. The quote says "The road to a friend's house is never long." Actually I use lace in lots of my work and I could have used many pieces. But I've been wanting to do something with these felt flowers and this challenge gave me the spark to make it happen.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sam needs your help!

Lily of TwoStrayCats is one of my internet friends. I know her through our association with EFA/Artists Helping Animals. Lily is one of the sweetest people I know and she loves her cats with all her heart. One of her kitties, Sam has been injured. The doctor believes Sam's injury is the result of the cruel and angry actions of a person. But whatever it was, it was a heavy and sudden massive force that has broken both of his hips and pushed them forward. Sam can be helped but it will require surgery. The surgery will cost $1000.

Lily is having a sale in her etsy shop to raise money for Sam's surgery. Everything is 50% off. She makes the most beautiful pillows with striking and elegant fabrics. Please go and look at TwoStrayCats and see if you find something that you could use for a gift or your your own enjoyment.

Please click on the links in print to see these pillows and many more in Lily's shop.

Also, as most of you know I give a percentage of my profits every month to an animal charity. This month Sammy will be my animal charity. So, if there is something in my shop that you have been thinking about purchasing, now is the time to get it. 15% of every sale will go to the Sammy Fund to help pay for the surgery to try to undo this harsh, cruel, and evil act.

Here are just a few examples in my etsy shop and you can see more to the right.

and how appropriate is this piece!

This also applies to anything in my 1000Markets shop. Here are some examples.

And remember that 15% of any portraits ordered through either my etsy shop or my 1000 Markets shop or my website will also go to the Sammy fund.

Here is a list of other shops that are donating their profits to help Sam. 65% of all MoL book sales and 75% of all graphics sales.. plus matching donations by 50% & 25% of all sales profits this week & 50% of the proceeds from both of my Etsy shops 25% of my sales 50% of any photo sales 100% of the purchase price of a mug 100% of the purchase price of Fancy Wearables (as seen on Sammy and Koru) 40% of all the sales from shoes this weekend

For more information and many more photos please visit Annette's blog at dragonhouseofyuen

Thank you for any help you can give Lily for Sammy either through our shops or directly.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mini Traveling Art Kit

I've always had an interest in compact objects with the potential to hold your entire life in one small package. Even when I was very young I was intrigued with the Dr. Suess character representing the letter spazz in the book On Beyond Zebra. I was into deep literature as a child. The man in the illustration for the letter spaz carried his entire worldly possessions - unbrella, alarm clock, needle and thread, etc. on the curly hooks of the horns of his lanky camel like creature. (I wanted to post a picture here but thought I would probably be breaking copyright law.)

I'm not a terribly impatient person. Well, my husband would probably tell you otherwise. But actually, I can wait if I have something to do in the meantime. With that in mind and with Dr. Seuss as an inspiration, I have created for myself a little mini portfolio. I came up with this idea at about 3:00 a.m. one night. That is when my best ideas come. I will use this hand embellished case to pack art card blanks that can be stored in my purse. Then when I find myself in waiting mode in a doctor's office or before a meeting, I can whip out my art card and use that moment for creativity. The back of the mini portfolio is smooth and automatically becomes a perfect drawing board for my art card. I also have a small vintage children's watercolor tin that holds my basic pencils, erasers, etc. I'm so motivated by my little Suessian style portfolio for art cards, that I'm planning one for journaling supplies and one for collage work. I'll let you know when they are done. I'm sure you can hardly wait!

And then here are some pictures of my studio helpers and inspiration coaches. As you can see, they have a very tough

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday's Potpourri

OK, I know its Tuesday evening. Yes, I'm late. But I'm still calling it Monday's Potpourri. Just cuz I can! Now on to business.

I have some very special artists to feature today to celebrate the return of Monday's Potpourri after a short summer hiatus.

The first artist is a return guest in our Monday Potpourri. Pam Carriker has created the most beautiful and striking mixed media art and it has a wonderful cause. Beauty in Strength was created in honor of Pam's step mother who is battling breast cancer. The original of this art was sold in about an hour after being posted in Pam's on line shop. But Pam is selling prints in her print shop thebagladysart. All profit from the sale of Beauty in Strength will be sent to the Susan G Koman foundation to help fund breast cancer research. I know you will want to take a closer look at this poignant work of art and perhaps purchase a print as a gift for a friend or maybe even yourself. And while you are in Pam's shop, take a look around at her other great art.

The next featured artist is StardustLove, a mother-daughter team from the Rio Grande. Rosanne and Hester of StardustLove contribute 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the beautiful jewelry in their shop to a variety of charities from humanitarian to conservation and also to animal rescue. Each of their pieces of jewelry is claimed for a particular charity. Today I want to share the Snow Leopard necklace. The sale of this lovely blue adornment will benefit the World Wildlife Fund. While you are in StardustLove's shop, be sure and read about the different charities they support with their sales. It will be an education.

Next is one of my very favorite artist friends, Annette Tait of dragonhouseofYuen. Here you see Baby Hare Beauty wearing her floral ensemble. Annette lives in Scotland with her rescued bunnies Arabella and Wesley who brighten and inspire her days. She is a member of EFA/artists helping animals and a portion of her proceeds goes to help animal charities. Annette's creative mind is always fun and entertaining. Check out her shop and blog for an enjoyable read.

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