Wednesday, December 21

Christmas Cheer!

I stumbled onto this site featuring creative Christmas trees,
and thought I'd share a few festive,
fun sites to enjoy on these last few days before Christmas!

Check out these synchronized Christmas lights...

Here's a link to a ton of last minute gifts you can make...
for your friends with pets and those without.

and for those of you who find yourself
having to explain The Truth About Santa...
this mother does the best job out there!

From my humble home to yours, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas
filled with laughter, love, and the ones you love!
Make it your best Christmas yet!

Tuesday, December 13

One of my favorite ways to celebrate...

This past weekend a few friends and I went out to The Mission Inn to celebrate Christmas over lunch and a little shopping. I've only been here once before and I've never had the chance to really explore or take in the beauty of it.

Though our little Christmas exchange, lunch, and shopping were the reason for our get together, I don't think we could have chosen a more beautiful place to meet! The Mission's Christmas decor is beautiful and completely inspired me to spend the following day sprucing my own home for the holidays.
While we were there, one my fearless friends took us on an impromptu tour of the amazing chapel that sits tucked away upstairs in The Mission and is easy to miss.
As darkness fell we were treated not only to a visit with the big guy, but to the spectacular Festival of Lights that The Mission Inn is known for...
Celebrations like this, and outings with friends are one of my favorite ways to celebrate the holidays. Thanks to each of you for a perfect day!

Wednesday, December 7

Decking the Halls....

Two months... are you serious? I'm so sorry to any of you that still check in on my neglected little blog; I'm sorry for having been absent so long. I have no excuse. BUT I've been having a ton of fun; playing, making art, getting together with friends, working on Christmas projects, and a 12 Days of Christmas ornament swap (pictures to come soon). I promise to try and be better about blogging in 2012. I hope to blog before then and share a little Christmas cheer while I deck the halls. Here are a few snaps of where the last few months have taken me...
My bestie Leslie came out for Thanksgiving, and thankful we were to have her with us!
We made art...
and played MdM style with books, of course. I'll be back soon... promise!

Friday, October 7


It's funny how the need for spring cleaning and fall nesting creep in. Even when the thought is far from mind, nature takes over and and I find myself entangled in these rituals. Five days ago I painted my studio and today I'm filling little corners with all the things I want surrounding me. It's even nice to make trip after trip to the car, letting go of things that have filled this room to overflowing for far too long. Less really is more, at least that's my state of mind today. Thankfully!
And stop laughing... I've had a crush on John since I was 13 years old and saw him in Saturday Night Fever. Now he's like a little slice of happiness every time I look over my shoulder.

Thursday, September 29

Too good not to share...

A little something to bring a smile to your face on this gloomy Thursday morning. I love Ross' willingness to get back in the saddle!
PS: Be sure and watch this with your speakers on, the music is perfect! Well it use to be perfect then they changed it!! What's up with that? Google or find... "Saddle up ride your pony, get on your horse and ride!"

Saturday, September 24

Autumn Already...

It doesn't seem quite possible that it's fall already! I have no idea where our summer went, and I'm somewhat reluctant to move on with the seasons just yet. We had a very mild summer and being a California girl I like the bright sunshine and warm, breezy days... but after months of waiting for them to arrive, I guess it wasn't meant to be this year. Sigh...

In other news, I had an amazing time at Tinsel and Treasures earlier this month. Iva and Colleen hosted a great show and I couldn't have been happier to have been a part of it again this year! Unfortunately I don't have pictures to share. I had planned on really loading up on photos so that even when I don't have time for blogging, I might still have something to share with you all. On the drive up Nancy and I stopped at St Patrick's Cemetery outside of Arroyo Grande....

(All photos courtesy of Nancy Jamar)

It's an old, abandoned cemetery we saw off the highway due to a few really stunning religious crosses, headstones, and markers. Some of the statuary stands at least 12 feet tall! To our surprise, we were able to find our way onto the dilapidated grounds... it was beautiful, but hauntingly so. It was a bit unsettling reading headstones from so long ago, and trying to imagine who these people were that could afford such elaborate religious pieces way back when. As I tried to snap one last photo of a rusty old rosary hanging on a headstone, my camera suddenly froze and I have to say it kind of scared me. The whole thing just stopped working at all! That was my cue for us to hightail it out of there, and let these people rest in peace. So, forgive me for not having more to show from our trip. You can see and read more about our ventures if you're interested on Nancy's blog here, here, and here.

That's all I've got for this morning. I do want to say thanks to those of you who continue to stop by this little blog of mine. I have a few kits left over from Tinsel and Treasures for those of you interested. You can find them here.

Happy Saturday everyone!

Monday, August 29

What's for dinner?

You may have heard of the "freezer cooking" concept, but it was new to me until I found this on Pinterest last week.

I'm not a cook by nature; I suppose after 25 years of cooking for my family, I'm just not that into it anymore. Well all that changed this weekend. I scoured the internet and found several dishes I thought I'd try. The idea is that you cook several different meals at once and then freeze them. Since not everything freezes well, there are exceptions to that. Even though it's been quite hot the last week, much of what I found was winter food. I don't mind... just knowing that we now have 25 dinners in the freezer makes me happy! I was surprised at how easy it was to cook for several hours straight. If I was cutting onions, garlic, carrots, etc. it was just as easy to prep for several recipes as for one. I had several pots on the stove, the oven going, and my Crock Pot to boot. I made spaghetti sauce, pesto, prepped several crock pot dinners, prepped a couple of containers of taco meat, roasted two chickens, and then shredding the meat and froze that too. Here's a little of what else I made... oh, and the pumpkin bread looked so good, I had to include that as well!

Sunday, August 14

Marbled Paper...

For the past few months I've been getting together with a fun group of women for a once-a-month art day. This weekend Pearl hosted us and offered to show us how to create marbled paper. She gathered the supplies, we all pitched in by bringing a pot luck lunch, and we spent the day together playing with paint and paper.

Pearl has a huge backyard and it was soon littered with marbled paper laying out to dry. I can't believe how much fun it was to float paints, create patterns, lay our paper on, and then pull it up to see what would be revealed. It was the first time most of us had ever tried this, and I know it won't be our last. There's definitely a learning curve to creating the exactly patterns you want, but I can't wait to try it again soon!
I also can't wait to get together with these happy, fun women next month! Thanks again for a great day Pearl (& Jeff), Connie, Suzanne, Erin and Lisa. We missed you Yvette and Cindy!!

Wednesday, August 10

Flea Market Finds...

I have no willpower over tattered, faded, glorious trim!

Monday, August 8

An Altered Journal

In just a few weeks now Nancy and I will head out on a California road trip as we make our way north to the charming, little town of Danville. We're going for Tinsel and Treasures, Iva's Folk Art Show that's in it's 4th year.
I've been gathering the elements for the three Make and Take projects I'll be teaching while we are there. It's been fun to pull out old papers, dig through boxes of black and white photographs, and rummage through baskets full of lace and trims.
I think in addition to the kits I'll let everyone pick out their favorite elements to work with. It's always fun to get a nice kit (and they will) but it can be even more fun to choose our favorite things and add those to our projects as well.

I'm heading out back now to start recycling the big bag of library books I picked up this weekend. The only way I can help everyone get a book together quickly is to do much of the prep work now. I don't mind... but I'm open for helpers if you'll work for sangria and grilled chicken salad!

Friday, July 15

Bewitching Halloween Tiara...

I don't know about you, but I find it difficult to think about Halloween in July however that's just what I'm doing. Actually I'm finishing the last couple of projects for Iva's Tinsel and Treasures event in September. Project two down... two to go. But for now, it's back to enjoying the beautiful weather outside.
Happy Friday!

Monday, July 11

Turning up the creativity...

Does anyone else find it hard to keep your creativity going in the summer?
Don't get me wrong, I've got loads of ideas and several times a day the urge to create washes over me. But just as quickly the urge is replaced with calls to friends to come by for an easy summer dinner, or I grab another cold drink and resume my place on the lounge chair out back beside Mr Warren. I can't think of a better way to spend my summer... thought I do feel awful that I've kept others waiting for long promised projects. So Iva, here's the first of my Make & Takes I'll be sharing with everyone at Tinsel and Treasures. Thanks so much for sticking with me through my slow progress Iva, I promised to stay in my studio this week and get the other projects to you ASAP!

Monday, June 27

The apple doesn't fall far...

Check our what Nancy's cute daughter Nathalie made...
I just love young, talented girls!

Friday, June 24


I happened onto this Artist and thought I'd share her fresh, funky art with you...
HapPy FrIDay!

Wednesday, June 8

I want to paint like her...

Don't you love to have a little fun planned, especially with summer on the way?
Well, I recently started a new Art Group with a group of friends that are
so much fun,
and this Saturday is our next get together.

It's funny how the week before we meet the e-mails start flying fast and furious...
talk about food, what we need & want to bring to share,
what we'll do, etc... fill my mind and trigger my imagination.
This time we're painting at Lisa's...
she's a huge fan of Jesse Reno, I'm loving Flora's work and
I would love
to paint like the unknown artist's who's work is shown above
(I took this last summer while vacationing in Montana with my two other Art Besties)!
So that's what I'm doing... how about you?
I hope you're planning some summer loving of your own!

Monday, May 30

Linen, lace, and rosaries...

Finally getting a long awaited package off to a friend. I love the process and the outcome, but Oy! do I procrastinate!

Thursday, May 26

Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival

Looking for something fun to do this Memorial Day Weekend? Check this out...

Monday, April 25

Flora Bowley...

I recently discovered Artist Flora Bowley while blog hopping, and what a happy find it's been...
While it's no secret I'm a pretty plain Jane, and our home is one monochromatic, neutral pallet, with one glimpse of Flora's work I was captivated! I find Flora's use of vibrant colors as well as the size of her work so appealing. Maybe it's the onset of spring that has me welcoming the happy colors she uses, maybe it's the gloomy winter weather that seems to drags on.... either way I am loving it!
After visiting Flora's website I e-mailed her to ask about workshops, as everything I'd seen offered in California was booked solid.
I was happy to hear back from Flora that she'll be teaching in Malibu in November. Gina Armfield will be hosting her workshop at Artinfusio; Gina's place overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It's a great big venue with loads of natural light, a beautiful setting, and the class is offered for about 25% less than I've seen elsewhere (and who doesn't love that?). So even though it still months away, I'm headed to the Art Supply Warehouse to pick up my supplies this morning. Who knows maybe I'll get a bit of play time in while I'm waiting for November to arrive!

(all photos are from Flora's website)

Friday, April 15

The Party's Over...

Oh, and what a party it was! Forgive me for being so long in writing...
and also for the lack of photos. As always I was too busy having fun to even think about taking pictures (except of course the photos I took in our workshop). The tintype below was my second attempt, and though not perfect it's great reminder of the weekend!
I don't know about you but I tend to think we are all more alike than we are different. And so with preparing for Sean's workshop last weekend and my bestie being on vacation with us for a week before that, with all my planning and prepping, I've been a bit slow this week as it's all come to an end. It's such a funny feeling to go from being on cloud 9 one day, to not knowing where to start in picking up the remnants of it all the next?

I can't begin to cover everything here but I can tell you there's nothing like laughing with girlfriends, enjoying a Happy Hour or two, junking at thrift stores, late night conversations, and early morning chats. Add to that all that goes along with hosting one super talented photographer Sean Kochel who was kind enough to fly to California to teach us the art of Wet Plate Photography!

From beginning to end Sean was a complete professional... patient, informative, helpful, and always available to guide any one of the 13 of us that gathered to learn from him. We spent the best two days together... getting to know our cameras, learning the chemical process of Wet Plate, and then bonding over two days as we practiced and adjusted our movements, and worked on our timing so that we might learn this highly sensitive art. We worked in small groups and also as a larger group and it was so nice to see such kind, friendly women (plus Lisa's handsome Adam) working side by side with no motive other than to help each other produce an image (any image at first), and then hearing cheers from the darkroom as someone's photo began developing before our eyes. I can't being to tell you what a wonderful group it was! By the time our weekend was up, we worked together like one big happy family encouraging and celebrating each others achievements.

While I have no interest in creating a business to pursue all the art I love so much, I would host another workshop with this group in a minute! If there's someone you think we should approach about teaching, I'm open to suggestion. Thank you each and every one for making this a huge success and so much fun! I can't wait to get together with you again. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again... you guys really are the best!

You can read and see more about our the class here, here, and here....

Wednesday, March 30

The Art of Crafting Photgraphs...

The art of photography has always fascinated me. I've owned several film SLR cameras, taken photography classes, read, studied, and loved this art for years.
But mastering the art of photography still escapes me.
I've slowed down in my pursuit of this art over the past few years, especially with with the onset of digital photography. I'm not sure why but it just doesn't hold the same allure for me as taking photographs, then developing and manipulating them in a darkroom.
Though I've struggled with all of this for years, I'm not ready to give up trying!
I'm hoping the with the help of Sean sharing his knowledge and skill in our upcoming workshop, that I too will learn the fine art of crafting beautiful photos. Maybe I'm not a 21st century girl after all. Maybe learning to craft photos the old fashioned way will lend itself to my hands-on way of learning. Maybe the deep, rough, imperfect finish of rich old tintypes better suits my nature. That's what I'm hoping for at least....
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