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

Monoprint Bound – Live!


It is hot, hot, hot in the city these days, but we were cool and happy at My Heart’s Fancy last Saturday for Monoprint Bound – Live!


I had the loveliest bunch of students – so creative, so lighthearted and SO ready for FUN!


There was color and laughter, exploration and discovery, and best of all gorgeous finished books!

I think Miss Adona’s face says it all.  I suspect MANY more books are going to be made by these gals!!  Thanks everyone for coming and sharing your beautiful hearts with me!


Adona Haase

If you’d like to make a book like the ones shown here, you’re in luck!!  I’m putting this class online and you can enroll now for an early bird price of only $30.  For more information, please visit my Online Classes page.  Hope you’ll join me!!

Categories: teaching | 2 Comments

Monoprint Bound – ONLINE!


You may notice a new button on my menu this morning (above).  I’ve received so much positive feedback from my in-person Monoprint Bound classes (see “Gelli Bound – Longstitch Style” below) that I decided to take a giant LEAP and turn them into an online version!

I have to admit I’m a little nervous right now.  I’ve made a few videos here and there, am past the “hate the sound of my voice” stage of it (well, mostly), but this seems more daring than anything I’ve ever done before!  If there is one thing I’ve learned in the last few weeks, tho, it’s that I MUST trust my ideas and follow my heart… must do the thing I think I cannot do. [~Eleanor Roosevelt]

Hope you’ll join me!  For more information, visit my new Online Classes page at

Categories: teaching | 1 Comment

A Promise to Me


On a warm day last spring, as we sat sipping coffee under an umbrella at our local Starbucks, my daughter shared the news that her partner had decided to accept a spot in a PhD program in Vermont – some 25ish hours NE of home and an unfathomable distance from ME. I’ve spent the time between then and now diligently trying not to think of her leaving and I got pretty good at it – trying new things, entertaining family, making myself busy. But today I can hide no longer, they’ve driven away waving and promising to Skype and text and write and visit.


How does a mom say “so long” to a piece of her heart?  I’m not entirely sure yet, but here are a few things I’m promising myself as a way to maybe ease the ache…

  • find something to be grateful for every day
  • look for the magic in my everyday life
  • look for the poetry around me and capture it with my camera or my art or my writing
  • seek out adventures and experience them joyfully
  • write long, rambling letters and mail them to her in messy, painty envelopes
  • take long, thoughtful walks
  • listen to good audio books
  • cook good food
  • proliferate kind art in my community
  • listen to my heart and let it guide my life and my art
  • make things just for me – messy things, ugly things, beautiful things – appreciate whatever comes out
  • establish a morning ritual – a way to ease into my art/making process and make it a spiritual practice
  • find my way back to yoga
  • indulge in daytime bubble baths, no-reason massages, deluxe pedicures


A few years ago (hmmm, maybe more than a few), when my daughter graduated from high school, I made her a card that featured the quote below…

 “I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”
~Mary Oliver

She now has a piece of this quote tattooed on her arm… just as it has been tattooed on my heart, because I know that the best way I can be in the world is to be someone who is “improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing” – not even of giving my daughter wings.


Categories: home | 3 Comments

Gelli Bound – Long Stitch Style

What do you get when you combine eight creative souls with some gorgeous Dina Wakely acrylic paints, a variety of fabulous stencils and a handful of Gelli Arts Gelli Plates?  Bliss, that’s what!!  That is definitely what we found last Saturday when I taught “Gelli Bound – Long Stitch Style” at My Heart’s Fancy in Oklahoma City.


I have to tell you, Dina’s new line of paint with Ranger is just to die for – just look at the brilliant color on Marie’s plate below! And it’s like rolling cream onto your plate. Just yummy!  These girls were definitely NOT afraid to try new combinations and the results were simply wonderful!


This was a full day workshop, with Gelli printing in the morning and book binding in the afternoon.


One of the big things we worked on was “bleed prints,” where the paint goes all the way to the edges of the paper vs. a more traditional print with a white border all the way around.  These worked nicely as pages in our finished books and we had a lot of fun playing with ways to create 8.5 x 11 bleed prints on 8×10 or 8″ round plates!


Loved the bleed prints Lisa used for her cover, created using the 8″ round plate and a few fun Balzer Bits!


The book form for this class featured a Long Stitch style binding and the girls all jumped in like they were born to it.


Here are the finished books, in no particular order…


Jennifer’s book


Lisa’s book


Fran’s book


Chris’s book


Marie’s book (in progress)


Sharyn’s book


Bivian’s book

Debra's book (in progress)

Debra’s book (in progress)

One of my favorite things about a class like this is seeing the sparkle in my students’ eyes when they tie that last knot and realize they have just created a book from start to finish!  There is really just no feeling like printing your own papers, covering your own book boards, stitching in your very own signatures and knowing there is not and never will be another book just like yours!!

Thanks girls for another fantastic teaching experience!  Your work was just beautiful and it was a joy to have each of you in class!!

Categories: teaching | 9 Comments

Tiny Tinny Flowers


About a year ago, my daughter and I had the great good fortune to visit DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun in Tuscon, AZ.  This 10-acre oasis in the desert was designed and built by acclaimed Arizona artist Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia.


Filled with nooks and crannies – you could spend days discovering all the wonders of this place!  The buildings are winding and organic and filled to the brim with DeGrazia’s beautiful, ethereal and playful paintings.  But I have to say I was most enchanted by the colorful metal flowers that dot the property – adorning buildings, doorways and arches and all made from recycled cans.

IMG_3556 (2)

Recently, I’ve been playing with the idea of desert terrarium gardens and landed on the idea of mimicking DeGrazia’s tin flowers as a decorative feature for my tiny gardens.  The cuties at the top of this post and those featured below were crafted by my daughter and I; they measure less than an inch across and stand about 1.5-2″ tall.


Each tiny flower started with a piece of medium gauge wire, we made a tight little curl at the flower-end to hold everything in place, then layered on beads and prepared aluminum pieces.  We found that my regular craft scissors and craft punches cut the aluminum beautifully (and, so far, everything still seems to be working fine with paper, though can’t say for sure how that will be over the long term).  In the example above, I used an Adirondak acrylic paint dabber (in Juniper) to color the back of my tin piece and made the back my feature – I also added a couple of the Tim Holtz Foliage pieces – painted with Red Pepper and Aqua paint dabbers.


To hold everything in place, we used metal eyelets that we just crimped with pliers (crimp beads would likely work better – just didn’t have any on hand).


Once we had everything together, we used the end of a paintbrush to curl and shape the flower petals.  In this example, you can see that the printed side of the aluminum can is featured – I’m on the hunt now for colorful cans!!

I’ll keep you posted as this project progresses – I’m thinking little houses, twig chairs, acorn cap birds nests, tiny bottled collections, and more.  Stay tuned!

Categories: inspiration, projects | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Merry Time of Light


Oh, Christmas, you sorta slay me. On the one hand, I adore you – snow (real or otherwise), lights, pretty paper, surprises for those I love! On the other hand, you wear me completely to a frazzle – crowds, traffic, the pressure to find just the right surprise for every name on my list, and the nagging feeling that I can never do/be enough. That last little bit nags me other times of the year, of course, but it seems especially strong this time of year.


Then there’s the whole debate over the meaning of the holidays – merchandising efforts go into overdrive, which tends to make everybody think it’s ALL about buying/getting and/or topping last year’s buying/getting. The enormous tree in Rockefeller Center can no longer be called a “Christmas Tree” and now it seems even “Happy Holidays” is uncool because “Holiday” equals “Holy Day” which apparently goes full circle back to Christianity!


I’m going to be honest and say I am not a Christian. I do, however, have faith in a higher power – something that guides our lives toward the light… when we let it. I don’t think all this arguing over what to call the season or marketing of the latest doo-dad has much to do with living in the light and the truth is that all of the holy traditions – Judaism, Kwanza, Christianity, Paganism, maybe more I’m not even aware of – seem to be celebrating the same thing. That is, the miracle of light – being kind, living with honor, taking care of those we love and trusting in the possibility of miracles.


I sort of long for a time of year that I can truly call holy; a time when everyone is given a space of breathing room – to heal, to celebrate, to rest, to renew and plan for the future. A time when we just slow down a little, be a little kinder, send some love out – in thought and deed vs. retail acrobatics. Doesn’t matter your religion – it doesn’t get much holier than that!


With all that said, I do really love this time of year.  I love being outside in the crisp, burning-wood-scented air, making and giving celebratory cards, baking yummy treats that I stubbornly refuse to make any other time of year (they wouldn’t be special if I made them all the time). I even love giving gifts – though, I’m never more grateful for the DVR and fast-forward button than I am at Christmas-time!

Categories: speculation | 4 Comments