Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Button fun, You need more flair!

I had so much fun designing this button.  I started with paint, but I have digitally altered the image so much, you can hardly tell it was paint on paper.  In Cleveland, the route safety team goes with a pirate theme every year.  We get to dress and talk like pirates for 3 days (4 if you count our crazy crew day!).  We tell horribly bad pirate jokes and have a great time with the walkers.  I recently bought a button maker and I'm very excited.  Buttons are like gold on the 3-Day, everyone wants them!  This was my original idea, and then as I was working on it I thought, hey, you could make them say different things.  Like, I treasure my wife's pirate chest, or I treasure my itty bitty pirate chest, or like the one I've designed for our team this year, Protecting all the pirate chests.
I think they'll be so much fun on the walk.  Heck, I wanna wear mine around now and see who notices and comments about it ;)

I also threw this one together.

What movie is it where Jennifer Aniston gets yelled at for only having the required amount of flair?  If you've ever seem my 3-Day pictures, you know I go way beyond the minimum for flair.  I think we all need as much flair as possible each and every day.  It makes life so much more fun.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Butterfly earrings bring Spring to mind

I haven't made any a lot of jewelry in awhile.  I'll make some stamped metal jewelry when the mood strikes, but I haven't gone in depth with beading or wire work in years.  I used to do it all the time and even taught it at two local bead stores.  I think I got a little burned out and a lot distracted by other art possibilities.  
Now that I have my pixie hair, earrings are much more fun to wear.  I have a pair of nice chandelier style earrings that I bought and love because they are very lightweight and dont hurt to wear.  I was trying to figure out how I could make something really cool and a bit unusual.    I went to the craft store and they had these findings on sale for just 50 cents.  I knew I had to get them.   
I looked around my stash of crafty goods and found these


I poked a hole through the butterfly, used some thin beading wire to make sparkly beaded dangles from the 8 posts of each earring.  That's pretty much all it was.  I did some quick wirewrapping to attach everything.  I added an extra butterfly on the long part of the finding just to make it a little bit prettier and now I have some extra cute one of a kind earrings to wear!  They're light and dont pull on my earlobes so I'm hoping that I enjoy wearing them.
Pretty quick and easy and very inexpensive considering the clearance cost of the finding and using stash I already had for everything else.  So, what do you think?  I've got my mind spinning on what to do for another pair so we'll see what happens.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fun watering cans

 I have started to collect the cutest watering cans.  Anything that is animal shaped is fair gain.  I have found all of these already this year.  I have another frog one from last year, but he was outside the day I was taking photos.  Aren't they just adorable?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dare to be outrageous


More from my altered book of me from Tam’s class.  When I started this book, I went through my parents old photo albums looking for pictures to copy and use.  I came across this one of me and my decorated, tin foil covered bike.  I remember decorating the bike and riding it in a parade in the small town we lived in at the time.  I was so proud of how we spiffed up the bike!  I get to decorate up my bike doing crazy things twice a year now as part of the route safety teams for 2 of the 3-Day for the Cure Breast Cancer Walks.  We decorate as pirates in Cleveland and I have a magical pink treasure chest I strap on the back along with a pirate flag, decorated bras and whatever else catches my eye.  In Michigan we are the Pink Panthers and my bike gets decorated with as many Pinkies as I can attach (and of course includes a few bras too!).  I even made a pink panther bike helmet cover and a pink panther bra that I wore this year!  It is fun to see the walkers perk up and laugh as they discover all the things on my bike.  Sometimes that one little smile can change the course of their day and that is worth pedaling around all the extra weight of the decorations.

This spread is all about embracing the unusual and loving it.  One of the quotes I have on there says “Life isn’t about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”  I believe it is a quote from George Bernard Shaw.  I love this as it reminds me that we can go beyond what seems like our limits and really do anything that we set out to do.  It goes right along with the feelings of the last post on not letting others decide what you can or should be.  I choose to be unusual, remarkable in my own way and no one else will ever be the exact same.  Isn’t that amazing?  We are all one of a kind and bring so many special qualities to this world.  We are all irreplaceable and that is incredible!  So I challenge each of you to do something you’ve always wanted to do, but were held back from for some reason.  Be outrageous and enjoy every moment of it!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011



This page is from my Altered Book of Me that I’ve been sharing.  Again, I want to thank Tam for providing such an awesome class for free!  I may be slow in getting through the projects, but they have all been wonderful to work on. 

This spread is all about using my talents.  I was a very shy child.  It was hard for me to make friends because of this.  I loved music because I could express myself without stumbling over words or feeling awkward.  When I sat down at the piano, my insecurities lessened and I let the music absorb my overthinking mind and just let my emotions flow out of me in the music I played.  Having that form of expression available to me growing up really helped me cope through troubling times.  I still use playing as a sort of therapy.  If something is troubling me I can sit down and play.  Sometimes I play notes off of the page and just get absorbed into the feelings that the music seems to project.  A lot of the time now, I’ll just sit down and make up things.  I think this impromptu creating of my own music has been the most amazing way to express emotions that I cant seem to voice any other way. 

I also have loved to draw since I was very little.  I grew up being the “musical” one and my brother was the “artist”.  It kinda pisses me off that we were labeled as such because I think it limited both of us.  I didn’t fully embraced my artist side until well into my 30’s.  That’s a lot of years that I could have used to further develop my skills.  I also could have used art as another form of self-expression and self-discovery that would have been quite useful in my teens and twenties.  I let someone else’s idea of who I was shape what I did.  Thankfully, I have grown into some self confidence, and lots of stubborness, so I will never again let someone else’s ideas limit me from who I really am.  It seems as time passes I let what others think of me impact me less and less.  Its a very freeing aspect of aging that no one ever tells you about.  I may not enjoy my body growing older and developing aches and wrinkles, but I love that at this age, I can do what I want without worries that others will think I’m crazy, or weird.  I am a little weird and crazy and I love who I am. 

So, that’s how I use my talents.  I express myself in a way that I’ve never been able to with spoken or written words.  It soothes me and allows me an outlet for my over emotional self.  How do you use your talents?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hymns from the Piano

Well, on my last post I said I’d hopefully have something exciting to share with you and I do! Hopefully if you click above, you'll hear a short sampling from the CD I’ve been working on for awhile now. It is a compilation of 23 hymns performed by me. All the piano arrangements are my very own creations. It is a very peaceful CD that encompasses many of the older, more traditional hymns of the church.

I am selling this as a fundraiser for the 60 mile, 3-Day for the Cure Breast Cancer walk that I’ll be doing in Boston. The selling price is $15 and all the profits will go into my walk account to help me reach the $2300 minimum requirement to participate. Any profits from sales after I reach this goal will be donated to charity, I’m just not sure which ones will benefit next.

The cover art for the CD is a copy of an original painting done by me. It is of the church that I have attended since I was in first grade. I’ve also been the organist there on and off since 1987! I owe special thanks to my pastor, Bruce Lucas for taking the photograph I based my painting on.


Putting together a CD is much harder than I thought. I did my first CD’s right before Christmas of 2009 and it was amazing what all had to be done. This time around, I was much better prepared for all the steps, but that didn’t mean that they were much easier. For this CD, since I was recording my own arrangements, I decided that I’d just sit down at the piano with the hymn in front of me and improvise. Sometimes these improvisations worked out well and the result is what you can hear on the finished CD. Other times, I’d would hit a rough note, the phone would ring, or the dogs would bark and I’d have to start the recording all over again. I cant even tell you how many hours I spent recording to get the 48 minutes of material on the CD! Beyond the music, I wanted to design the cover myself. I’ve wanted to try to paint the church for years and now that we have a new front porch the time was right for me to give it a try. The painting was actually the easiest part of the entire process for me. It just turned out really well without a lot of struggles. Trying to design the labels that go onto the actual CD was a huge struggle this time. I kept trying to get the entire church on the label but then there wasn’t any room for the playlist. I finally used just the church steeple for the label and then everything fit on and I like how it turned out.


The CD booklet was a bit of a struggle just to get things the proper dimensions for the case. The booklet opens up and has the playlist, copyright info and also some special thank you notes.

After all of that was put together and ready to go then I had to do the entire production of all the elements. The booklets needed to be copied then trimmed down to the proper size. The CD labels needed to be printed out (and I cant find CD labels that I can run through a copy machine, so all of these were printed from my printer at home!). The CD’s had to be burned which is not hard, just very time consuming when doing them one by one from my laptop. Finally, after stuffing everything into the jewel case, the project is ready to go!

Its no wonder I’ve been exhausted and had a headache this past week! I’m hopeful that my hard work will pay off and sales will be good.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

OWOH goodies


I won the most beautiful art tag from Wendy as part of what she gave away for the One World One Heart blog event.  I just love the different textures and mediums she used on this.  I also adore that it includes music in its background.  Its like it was customized for me!  She also included a cute bookmark that I know I’ll be using all the time.  Thank you so much Wendy.  Your gifts really brightened my day and they make me smile when I see them!

I have been busy, busy, busy here.  Hope to be ready to reveal something new here on the next post.  Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Altered Book music spread


I’m still sharing from my altered book of me.  This spread represents the powerful role that music has in my life.  I started playing the piano when I was 7 or 8 years old.  I had been begging for lessons for about 2 years prior to being allowed to start.  I fell in love with the piano.  The touch, the sound, the possibilities, all of it.  It opened up a whole new way for me to express myself.  I have played, and still play many instruments but the piano is the biggest love.  I love that I can sit down and play and make my troubles lesson.  I can play music that I adore and put my own spin on it through my performance.  I can make up my own songs and express my innermost thoughts without worrying about using the proper words.  Its an amazing outlet for me and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


This spread celebrates my family and all the laughter and fun we had growing up together.  We didn’t always get along, that whole sibling rivalry thing often reared its head, but overall it was a fun way to grow up.  My brother and sister are very close in age to me, there’s just 3 years separating all of us.  We were often into playing the same things and it was rare to not have someone to do something with.  The harder thing was to find some privacy when it was needed! 

Music and family both had huge impacts on forming who I am today so I wanted to celebrate each of them with spreads in the “Book of Me.”  So, what has impacted you in your life?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dream Big


It’s a bright and cheerful morning here although still cold.  We’ve been having some beautiful pink sunrises that I really need to get out and capture with the camera. 

It has been a very busy week here.  Monday’s appt. lasted over 3 hours, Tuesday I had an allergy scratch test that lasted about 1 1/2 hours and then went to visit my Grandma at the nursing home.  She wasn’t in her room and when I asked where she was found out she had been sent to the hospital.  She is ok, but I spent a portion of my afternoon sitting with her there.  I’m hoping to stay away from any more doctors offices or hospitals for a good long time!


Today I’d like to share a bit more of my Altered Book of Me.  Again, thanks to Tam for giving away the Art, Heart & Healing class.  I’ve gotten a lot out of the class and have really enjoyed the projects.  This spread was all about not giving up on your dreams, and enjoying all the steps that might be involved with reaching some of your dreams.  I feel that you really can reach your dreams, no matter how big, but they often require a lot more work than one would expect.  I think its important to take pleasure not just in the attainment of your goals, but in all the hard work that helps you meet them.  Think of all the things you’ve learned along the way to each goal.  Its usually much more rewarding and involved than you would have initially thought and the lessons you learn along the way are just as priceless as the satisfaction of reaching the goal itself. 


Most of all its important to believe in yourself and give value your dreams.  Fight for what you believe in.  If you don’t fight for what you want, no one else will.  Be strong, be happy, be you.

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