A Creative Girl Weekend


Donna Downey Studio – Happy Paintbrush Wall

There’s not much in the wide world that I love better than a good adventure.  I adore going to new cities, exploring new spaces, getting acquainted with new faces, and learning new things.

I have to admit that I had not run across Danielle Donaldson until fairly recently, but when I saw her work, I was completely smitten.  Her little paintings are precious in every way!  And I’ve been wanting to play a little more with watercolor, so this workshop was tailor made.

Danielle Demo Painting

Danielle Demo Painting

We arrived in Huntersville, North Carolina on Thursday night.  This city is home to Donna Downey Studios, where the workshop was hosted.  Let me tell you, Donna and her hubby, Bill, are generous and oh-so-considerate hosts – chauffeuring you around, feeding you, making sure your every need is met (if not surpassed!).  The studio itself is just lovely – well-lit, nice and big, and well-stocked with goodies to purchase and take home with you (and, yes, I did my part to help keep the store afloat :D).

Ready, set, GO!!

Ready, set, GO!!

The first day was all about learning to lay down washes.  Danielle’s way of doing that was a revelation!  So much depth and interest and FUN!


On day 2, we got started with painting a girl Danielle had drawn for us – translated: she drew something like 20 girls in the hotel room Friday night (wow)!  I am completely in love with mine (shown below)!!


On day 3, we cut up our used paper-towels to make fancy hats for our girls.  The idea was a swim cap, but many of us took that and ran with it… Britta made a tutu, Tricia made curly hair, someone else made wings, and I made a sun-hat with a flowery band.


One of the things I love best about a good workshop is the other students.  So much excitement, like-minded hearts and AMAZING artwork (look for #creativegirlclass on Instagram for a peek).


And then there were the friendships – always such a treat to visit old friends and embrace new ones; beautiful souls, inside and out, who care deeply for creating and sharing and inspiring others to make and share.


Special thanks to Danielle for sharing your talent, enthusiasm and humor and to Laura for inviting me to this awesome event and for being a perfectly wonderful roomie!  And thanks to each and every one of the sassy girls in the photo above – I learned so much from each of you in such a few short days! My heart grew ten-fold and I truly hope our paths cross again soon!!

Categories: adventure, learning | 6 Comments

Mixed Media Folio Fun


Ever look at that stack of Gelli® prints you’ve been collecting and think, “I oughta make something with those“?

Are you like me and LOVE collecting bits and pieces?  Photos, security envelope patterns, inspiration decks, tiny treasures (and so much more).  But where to put it all!?

Love to art journal, but only have time to work in short/quick bursts?

Join me for Mixed Media Folio Fun!  In this class, we will…

  • use up those prints (and maybe make a few more)
  • create a beautiful portfolio-style book
  • fill your book with pockets, pockets and MORE pockets
  • stuff those pockets with your bits, pieces and tiny treasures
  • and look at some quick/fun ways to bring it all together in a beautiful and heartfelt way

Class is open now and all content is available for you to work at your own pace.  Best of all, you will have access indefinitely – no planned stop date! Click the “register now” button below to learn more and sign up!


Categories: online-classes, teaching | Leave a comment

Gelli® Scrap Folio – Round 2!

Just finished up another round of Gelli® Scrap Folio this past Saturday @ My Heart’s Fancy in Oklahoma City and, as usual, I brought almost everything I own! Course, this could easily be a two-day workshop – that’s why I’m working it into an online class!!  I plan to release that by April 1 and will be sharing more info in the next few weeks!!


That said, I had a fantastic group on Saturday – all so eager to jump into printing and all very excited and enthusiastic about constructing this fun little folio-style book.  We started the day printing in our favorite Dina Wakely and Liquitex Basics color palettes, using my ever-growing collection of stencils, masks and stamps to create yummy texture and layers…

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Then we built our folio books from the ground up.

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After lunch, we came back and finished our covers…

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Then we wrapped up the day creating ALL SORTS of little pockets and secret hidey-holes to add to the folio for storing our favorite bits and pieces…

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I always love a class like this because each person brings their own unique style to the project and no two are ever ANYthing alike.  I’m always inspired and so grateful for the chance to play with like-minded souls. Thanks ladies for a great class and thanks, as always, to Maura of My Heart’s Fancy for letting us use your wonderful space!!



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Carousel Box – Class Recap


When I first began creating, I was head-over-heals in love with scrapbook-everything… so many papers, so many rubber stamps, so MUCH fun ephemera!! I still love it all, but over the last several years, I’ve become more and more focused on creating my own imagery – printing my own papers, finding/creating unique ephemera and carving my own rubber stamp images.


Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to share my love of stamp carving with a super sweet group of ladies at My Heart’s Fancy. Becki even brought THE YUMMIEST snickerdoodles!! I have to admit, it was the first time anyone has brought goodies and I was truly touched (I ate my fair share too – so good!!).


We started the morning creating our own imagery – carving into plastic erasers and good ole Speedball “pink stuff.”


It’s sorta like eating snickerdoodles, you just can’t stop with one!!


And no two are ever alike! Even when two people carve a similar image – each hand is evident, each unique signature shines through!


After lunch, we started constructing our boxes. The box we used is the Victorian Exploding Picture Box from Retro Cafe Art and I have to take a moment to give them a huge thank you! We ordered a bit late, but they rushed it for us and got it there on time. I am forever grateful when I receive such awesome customer service!!!


We covered our boxes with paper out of the Styleboard collection from Maggie Holmes and Crate Paper (released Winter 2014 – so availability is somewhat limited, sad to say)…


… then combined handcrafted elements with more Crate Paper goodies (Kiss Kiss – 84 piece ephemera pack)


… to start building out the insides of our little exploding boxes. All are still in progress, but here is a peek of Mary’s initial design for her inside box. Isn’t it cute!?


And here’s a look at the class sample…


I had SOOOOO much fun watching these little boxes start to come together – was a total play day and that just fills me up! Also have to mention – I had originally pitched this as a Valentine gift project – something to give away – but by the time we put it all together, the ladies were less inclined to give away all that hard work! Which gives me a whole new perspective on the project – it makes my heart explode a teensy bit to think of these carefully and lovingly crafted boxes gracing their makers’ dressing table, craft studio or other personal space. I think when holidays roll around, we get focused on giving pieces of ourselves away – I like the idea of taking a day to create something lovely to give to ourselves, to show a little self love and self care. What better gift is there!?



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Gelli® Scrap Folio – Class Recap


What happens when you mix ten creative ladies with paint, Gelli® plates and simple cardboard?!  Magic, that’s what!!


We started the morning printing – and we broke some rules, with gorgeous results…

After lunch, we started putting our folio books together; cutting up those beautiful prints and piecing together the sweet spots – THAT’s where the magic starts!


Marie’s Folio – In Progress


Janet’s Folio – In Progress

Finally, the books were done and, Oh My Gosh, I loved each and every one!!  So full of color and everyone’s unique personality, this might be my favorite project yet; tho, I think I might say that every time!


Jennifer’s Folio Cover


Teresa’s Folio Cover


Kathy’s Folio Cover


Chris’s Folio Cover

Last, we starting filling the insides and the true heart of this project is what happens inside.  Everyone had their own approach/expression, of which I’ve only captured a taste. BUT, I’ve scheduled a follow-up session for students to continue work on the insides, so maybe I’ll have more photos to share in a couple of weeks (tease, tease)…


Kathy’s Folio Content


Jennifer’s Folio Content

I truly had a blast putting this class together and sharing it with my friends at My Heart’s Fancy.  Thanks girls for sharing the day with me!!

Categories: teaching | 3 Comments

New Year, New View

Happy New Year!  I know I’m a little late to the party, but it’s been busy, busy around here!!

The whole gang came for Christmas…


And somebody gave us a super-special surprise!!


We had grand-puppies and a best girl visiting for a big, happy chunk of December!


We sent my nephew off to the Air Force!!


And I kicked off my year of “one class a month” at My Heart’s Fancy – more on that soon!

While my daughter was here, she and I sat down and wrote some goals. She went all-out and wrote a 10-year plan!  I just thought about time wasters I want to cut back on (like mindless cell-phone “stuff”) and I made a list of the feel-good things I want more of (like making and teaching).  I want to get both feet on the ground, do more of what I love and minimize or simplify the things I don’t love so much.  I want to communicate better and set clearer boundaries.  I want to be kinder to myself – happier with who I am right now (vs. wasting time wishing for a better me).  Simple intentions, but an oh-so important new beginning!

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Lucky Star Magic


When I first started retreating in 2007, it was sort of on a whim… hubby was (& still is) a retail business owner, with limited opportunity for long vacations and I was (at the time) in a high-stress corporate job with LOTS of vacation time.  We agreed I should try a solo vacation as a way to destress and explore the world a little.


From the very beginning, I was drawn to women’s retreats – I felt there would be something safe and comforting in a gathering of women and I was soooooo right about that!  Last week, I returned to the Texas Hills for my second year of Lucky Star Art Camp. After at least 15 different retreat experiences over the years since that first in 2007, I say every year, “it just doesn’t get any better than that.”  But it always does get better and this year at Lucky Star was no different.


I believe there is a certain magic required for a retreat to be successful – the director of the camp has to be, first and foremost, a true blue, deep down, believer in magic and Lisa Field believes better than anyone I’ve ever met!


She’s been able to pull together just the right place, teachers, support personnel/family, campers and energy for dreams to, most indubitably, come true.  Every little detail matters and she pulls it all off with a smile and a twinkle in her eyes (photo above is shamelessly “borrowed” from Lisa’s own Facebook page – isn’t she gorgeous!).


The place, Camp Waldemar, just outside of Hunt TX, is one little piece of that magic.  A girls camp since its beginning in 1926, there is an energy there that is different from anything I’ve ever experienced.  It’s a purely feminine energy – a place of turning inward, while also opening your heart; a place of sinking in, while shining bravely; a place of unbelievable beauty.  From the Guadalupe river that frames the property, to the giant Cypress trees that hold court along its banks, to the stone and Spanish-influence of the architecture, the world-class chef, the horses, the archery, the massage offerings – it is truly a place of beauty, peace and magic.


The teachers are collected from all walks of life – all ages, disciplines, belief systems – but somehow they all seem to share that daydream believer magic.  My classes this year were an eclectic mix and I loved every single one – leather working with Becky Dawson’s Cowgirl Clutch, exploring the medicine wheel with Elizabeth Quigg, art journaling Mindy Lacefield-style and Hookin (crochet-style) with Cal Patch.

The support team was made up of Lisa’s friends and family, which consisted of LOTS of mother energy this year, which I think may have contributed, at least in part, to some of the nurturing and caregiving that was so very present.  It just filled my little-ole-mommy heart and made me dream of bringing my girl next year!


The campers too were cut from special cloth.  Those returning from last year had grown somehow more luminous, birthing babies and ideas, standing a little taller, a little braver.  And those who were new were transformed overnight into braver, bolder versions of themselves.  I cannot wait to see what’s born in time for camp next year!


There’s just something about this particular retreat that grows deeper each time I experience it.  Along the banks of the Guadalupe, on the porch of K9, sharing a table in the dining hall – it just seems that worries and fears have less tooth; the moments seem longer, deeper, richer; it’s all at once comforting and exciting, challenging and life-affirming, inspiring and oh-sooooooo-healing.


Categories: adventure | 4 Comments

Lucky Star!


The final big event on my fall list is Lucky Star Art Camp! You may remember that I attended this wonderful art retreat / grown-up lady camp last fall and I’m over the moon excited to return!!  So, there’s the packing – what does one pack for fall in the Texas hills?  I’m thinking a little of everything? :)

The big work for me, though, is vendor night – aka Show and Tell night.  I’m planning a vendor table with the goodies below (and more)…


PLUS, this year, campers have been invited to setup demo tables!  I’m super excited about this and have been working diligently on a mini version of my online class, Monoprint Bound!  Campers will have an opportunity to print a book cover with the Gelli® plate and then bind their own pamphlet style journal – just $10 for either the large book (6″x9″) or two small books (4.5″x6″); samples shown below.


If you’re going to be there, hope you’ll look me up. If not, stay tuned – I will tell you all about it when I return!

Categories: adventure, teaching | 4 Comments

Monoprint Journaling


Had a fantastic time this past Saturday (10/25) teaching Monoprint Journaling at My Heart’s Fancy in Oklahoma City.  Having just returned from a trip out east to visit my daughter, I was a little overwhelmed to find myself in a classroom so quickly, but it all went beautifully!  I think I’m finally starting to settle into this whole teaching thing. :)


I was so happy to welcome several out of town students – Sally from Wichita, the Stillwater girls :), and Kathy from Anadarko; plus several returning students – Sharyn, Fran, and Rosemary.  Everyone clicked like they’d known each other forever – it was a fantastic group!


We had a wide range of experience – some long time journalers and a couple of brand new journalers, which just thrilled me to no end.  I’m not sure there is anying in the world as exciting to me as seeing the light flip on in a new journaler’s eyes!!


As usual, I threw a TON of information at them, a positively ridiculous number of tools, and a huge packet of goodies to take home – and they just soaked it all in like sponges!


Is there anything better than a beautiful fall day spent slinging paint in the company of like-minded creatives?


Thank you, ladies, for another amazing teaching experience. I was so inspired by each and every one of you and I hope I’ve infected you ALL with the Art Journaling bug!!!


Categories: art journaling, teaching | Tags: | 1 Comment

Fall in Vermont


It has been a crazy busy fall around here – at times, it has felt like I was meeting myself coming back!  But one of the special treats I gave myself was a glorious trip to Vermont to visit my sweet daughter (photo below was at a lovely little tea house in Burlington). As some of you may know, she and her partner moved there this past summer and this mama has been a little heart-broken.  Trust me, I gave this girl plenty of big ole squishy hugs (and they were returned in kind)!!


We spent a night baking slightly ugly, but really yummy halloween cookies and watching our favorite halloween movie, Practical Magic, which we both agree never gets old!


We had much fun wandering around Church Street in Burlington one rainy day.  Highlights included Phoenix Books, Frog Hollow Art Gallery, the Dobra Tea House mentioned above, plus a fabulous Asian Noodle house – pls pardon the food photo, but this was some of the best sushi & sashimi OF MY LIFE!!


I wandered a little on own, stumbling upon a pumpkin patch and more beautiful fall color than I ever even imagined!  I’ve been out east a number of times, but never managed to catch “true” fall until this trip.


Oh my, it did NOT disappoint – everything people tell you about fall in New England is oh-so-true!


We finished the week with a flea market trip, which yielded a number of fun goodies and I helped the girls add another stamp to their Vermont Brewery passports.  It was the least I could do! 😉


Returned home on Wednesday and jumped into final preparations for my Monoprint Journaling class at My Heart’s Fancy, which was yesterday (10/25) and I think I will recap the class in another post (tease, tease :D) – be sure to check back tomorrow for that!


So, now that a little piece of my heart resides in New England, I expect to be visiting with some regularity! All the friendly Vermonters on the bus Wednesday morning suggested February or March – do I dare?

Categories: adventure | 1 Comment