Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year's Eve

Hi Everyone!

Happy New Year's Eve!  I have to get in one more post before the end of the year, right?  I'm looking forward to ringing in the New Year at home in my bed, fast asleep most likely.  I know. PaRTy Pooper, right?  I like to go to church on New Year's Eve with my neighbor and then we come back here for hord'oeuvres and a cocktail; watch the New Year celebration on TV with my husband. Never have been into the whole New Year's Eve party thing.  I'm a home body.

Yes, there was a time when we we lived in our old neighborhood and we would get together with three other families and celebrate by going to each families' house for appetizers and drinks.  It was fun.  We'd have hord'oeuvres at our house, move to another place for games and more snacks, then to a sit down Italian dinner and fireworks, finishing up with a champagne toast at midnight.  Our kids still talk about those New Year's Eve parties in the old neighborhood with our friends.

Whatever you are doing tonight, be safe and take care of yourself.  Wishing you a Very Happy New Year!

God Bless,

Friday, December 27, 2013


Hi Everyone!

Here we are just two days after Christmas and what are we,  am I doing? Surfing the Internet and checking out Pinterest, eating leftover turkey sandwiches, thinking about next year's projects and maybe a New Year's Resolution or two.  Does that sound familiar to you?  It is the cold hard truth about what I've been doing.  Nothing very exciting.  Unless you think ordering knitting needles qualify for exciting (more on that later).

 After all the hustle and bustle leading up to Christmas, it is time to relax and chill out, ponder on the past events and what's coming up in the next year.  Do you have your calendars ready for 2014?
 How many people still have a calendar to write on???  Raise your hands!  I keep both a written calendar and an electronic one on my phone (more on that later).  I've already jotted a few lines on the desk top calendar for the next year, the usual birthdays and anniversary dates, an upcoming meeting and a doctor's appointment.  It is amazing how fast that calendar gets filled up.  There's also some pre-planning going on for blog land post for the new year.  I can't tell you anything just yet, still working through the details in my head. Yes, that is where it is all stored, in the noggin (scary thought huh?!).

Thought I'd better get a little organized for the next few months while my daughter and grandson will be visiting.  They will be here soon and then I'll need that calendar to keep me straight!  We are really looking forward to seeing our little grandson and spending time watching him grow. He just turned nine months and is on the verge of crawling!  That means keeping everything off the floor, watching to see that he doesn't eat anything that will harm him. Looking at the floor in my studio right now, there are sequins sprinkled here and there, fabric scraps and miscellaneous papers that have escaped the trash baskets, all which could be hazardous to a little one's health. That room will definitely be off limits to our little crawler.

Next week the Christmas tree will come down and ornaments and decorations will be put away for another year, and our house will be back to order.  January is cleaning, de-cluttering and re-organizing month.  One room a week, one drawer, one closet at a time.  I'll start in the guest room since that is where my daughter and grandson will be staying (and it is the easiest room)....

Oooops, I think I might have given away a January blog post secret.  Oh well!  Come back and see what gets done <wink>.

Take care until then....

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013



The last few weeks have been very busy around here, making lists, checking them twice.....being a little naughty and nice ,<wink>.  The Christmas tree went up on December 1st thanks to hubby who is always ready to purchase a tree and put it up as soon after Thanksgiving as possible.  The lights were on immediately, several days later the glass balls went on and just yesterday I finished up the decorating (think hubby was just about ready to give up hope)!

 SURPRISE!! It is cooking baking time at Mimi's house this weekend, only I didn't know that was the plan for Saturday morning.  Apparently, Miss Lollipop had plans of her own: "Mimi, I'm coming over to your house on Saturday to bake cookies and to do crafts!"  Now how can I say no to that?  Both Miss Lollipop (4.5 yrs) and Miss Sunshine (2) love to make cookies and crafts, so this will be a fun event.

Today I'm sharing our family Christmas Cookie recipe and Crafting Project with you.  This recipe was given to me by my next door neighbor more than 35 years ago!  We make these cookie without the icing, instead we sprinkle colored sugar* on top before baking. Hope you enjoy them.

3 Cups All Purpose Flour (sifted)
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 Cup Butter (2 sticks) room temperature
2 Eggs slightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp. Almond Extract (or 2 tsp if you love Almond)

Sift flour sugar and baking powder together.   Add butter and mix till crumbly.  Add eggs,extract and blend until smooth.  I do all this by hand.
Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.  Roll out dough on floured surface to 1/8" thickness and use cookie cutters to cut designs.  Place on pan and sprinkle with colored sugar*.  Bake 10-12 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

* Colored Sugar
Let your children do this part, it's like magic when the sugar changes color!
In a tea cup or coffee mug mix 1/4 cup white sugar with your choice of food coloring (3-4 small drops) I make one with red and one green. Stir the sugar until the food coloring mixes into the sugar well. You can add more sugar if needed.  Put the sugar on the cookies BEFORE baking.


3/4 Cup sugar, 1/3 Cup water, 2 Tbsp. light corn syrup in small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until comes to boil.  Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes.  Gradually add 3 Cups Confectioners Sugar, beat until smooth. Spread icing on cookies AFTER baking.

A Little Angel

A little angel to decorate your tree top.  My daughter made this Angel when she was 5 yrs. old and we put it on the tree each year.  Yes, she is our official tree topper!  I get a giggle each time I see her!


Toilet paper tube (cut in half)
Acrylic Paint or Tempera Paints (may need to paint under coat of white)
Red glitter
Pink Construction paper (face) or recycle cereal box (wings)
Craft glue

1. Cut Toilet paper tube in half.
2. Paint the tube pink or white or whatever color you fancy. Let dry.
3  Cut out circle for face from pink construction paper.
4. Draw or Paint facial features.
5. Cut out wing shape from cereal box  (we made 2 hearts) paint pink.  Let dry.
6. Use glue to outline wing shape.  Sprinkle with glitter on top of glue. Let dry.
7. Glue face to front of paper tube (body).
8. Glue (or staple) wings to back of paper tube (body) with glitter towards front.

Don't forget to have child sign his/her masterpiece! And put the year date on the inside of the tube, you'll be glad you did!  Hang on tree or use as a tree topper!

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Advent Season

Hi Everyone!

Preparations are going on all around the town.  There are Christmas trees being strapped to the tops of cars and wreaths going up on the neighbors' houses.  Some Christmas lights are up and I see lights twinkling in the windows at night.  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas all through the neighborhood.

Thought we'd take a little break from the Lighthouse Series and Travel Journals during December in order to focus on the Advent Season.  What is Advent?

 Wikipedia describes Advent as:
Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming".  Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ.

Advent is a time of preparation as we focus on Christ's second coming. We celebrate the weeks preceding Christmas with an Advent wreath that holds 3 purple ( Love, Peace and Hope) candles and one pink (Joy).  A white candle is lit on Christmas Eve representing the appearance of Christ in the world.  The wreath is a symbol of God's eternity and our Christian hope.  Like the circle our Lord is without beginning and without end.  

Each year I make an Advent wreath. The wreaths vary each year.  I love to use some of my Mama's old Christmas arrangements and add candles. This year I've kept it simple and non-traditional too.  A vintage arrangement with tall candles.

I hope this year you will start a family tradition and add an Advent wreath to your table.  Lighting the candles each week and remembering what this season is about, taking a moment to remember and to anticipate the coming of our Lord.


Thursday, November 28, 2013







Thank you to Graphics Fairy for the beautiful vintage clip art! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Hi Everyone!

Welcome back! Today we continue our Lighthouse journey along the coastline of Florida.

Jupiter Lighthouse Sketch from DuBois Park

When my friend Bonnie comes to visit we make a point of going out to paint en plein air.   A favorite spot is along the Jupiter Inlet in DuBois Park, directly across the inlet is Jupiter Lighthouse (click here for history of lighthouse).  DuBois Park is open to the public and provides picnic tables along the inlet side, a perfect place for viewing the lighthouse and an afternoon of painting under the coconut palms. 
Bonnie and I have been here many times to paint the lighthouse or just to sit and enjoy the afternoon sketching.
Jupiter Lighthouse
Check out the history on DuBois Park Pioneer Home, built on an Indian Burial Mound.  I love reading about the pioneers in Florida history.  I recently read a book called A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith, a historical fiction about a pioneer family in Florida. The story takes place in and around this area and being a Florida Cracker it was of great interest to me.  I absolutely loved this book and recommend it to anyone interested in pioneer life. 

Lighthouses will continue on Sketchbook Tuesday, please come by again. 

Happy Sketching!

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Hi Everyone!

I've been working on my Michigan journal pages.  I prepped a few pages ahead of time knowing that time would be limited but due to luggage constraints I left the journal at home.

Using Dylusions spray ink, I spritz the pages and glued in a Mitten map, the shape of Michigan and a bold date stamp for the opening page.  
Bountiful produce
Another pre-prepped page with pink and orange acrylic paint.  It reminded me of the bountiful produce at the Farmer's produce stands.  Loved seeing the fresh fruits and veggies, the biggest pumpkins and gourds.  It was a delight to this girl's eyes.

A little collage of photos taken of my daughter and grandson along with a watercolor I did of the Holland Lighthouse. We didn't get to actually go to the lighthouse because it was under reconstruction do to the shifting sands. I found a photo on line and painted from that. 
Let's celebrate! We had lots to celebrate on my visit.  My BFF's and my belated birthdays, daughter Amanda's birthday and baby Jackson turning 6 months old.
I should have gotten pictures of the birthday girls and boy! The background is paper I painted designs on and then glued into the journal.  I liked it so much, so why not use it?
At the Apple Farm with the Mommy Group picking apples for the very first time in my life!  What fun this was.  I kept the label from a bottle of water to commemorate the event.  I love the tree stamp, it was such fun to use colored pencils and a water brush to complete the look.

Thanks for joining me today! I'd love to hear what you think of my journal pages. Drop me a comment if you have time.

Happy Journaling!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Hi Everyone!

Beacons of light dotting the coastlines reaching out into the night....Lighthouses! A welcome sight to weary souls in the darkness. 

It was a blazing hot day in July when Bonnie and I went over to Mayport to catch the ferry. I don't remember where we were going only that we got waylaid when we spotted the lighthouse.  Man it was hot out that day, a skin sizzler without a breath of air, we pulled our chairs from the trunk and I donned my Dad's borrowed straw cowboy hat (I know. Geeky perfection,right?) for protection against the intense heat. The lighthouse is just off the main drag to the very busy ferry entrance on a side street not heavily travelled.  There were a few cars that came by and gave us the once over, but not much to be concerned with (you know, the people that always want to see what you are doing, that makes me very nervous). We plopped our canvas chairs next to a 8-10' chain length fence (apparently the lighthouse is actually part of the Mayport Naval Air Station) and started to paint.

 Like I said, it was HOT and summertime, so eventually there would be cooling breezes from the inevitable afternoon showers.  We were just finishing up our paintings of the lighthouse and a little church when the skies began to darken and a breeze started to blow in from the water, large raindrops began to fall as we dashed to the car, laughing all the way. 

Each time I see these plein air paintings I think of that day in July, I can hear the seagulls, feel the warmth of the sun, smell the rich earthy dirt when it rains, and remember what a great day it was to be out painting with my best friend.
You can read more about this lighthouse by clicking on the link above (in bold). 

I would encourage you to seek out and visit a lighthouse on your travels, it is a wonderful way to spend a few hours painting or sketching and learning about an area's history. 

Keep Sketching!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013


HI Everyone!

Growing up on the East Coast of Florida and living in coastal areas most of my life I’ve a great appreciation for lighthouses.  There’s something about lighthouses that grab my imagination and appeal to the romantic side.  I imagine ships at sea and the bright beam from the lighthouses that keep ships from dashing upon the rocks, and I think about the hardy souls who were the light-keepers and what a life that must have been!

One of the first lighthouses I visited was in St. Augustine, Florida.  My best friend Bonnie and I went on a painting adventure and ended up at the lighthouse.  We unpacked our chairs and proceeded to sketch the lighthouse, all was well until people started to stop by and wanted to see our work.  It was too much for me, I closed my book and that was that. 

When I have the opportunity to travel, I’m always on the lookout for lighthouses! Here’s one that’s in my neighborhood so to speak, it isn’t a lighthouse like what you think but a House of Refuge.  There were many shipwrecks along this coastline and the House of Refuge is the only remaining one of ten Refuges built along the East Coast just for that very purpose.  You can read more about it HERE.  

Most lighthouses have great history and stories that go along with them.   I've found most historical lighthouses have a gift shop worth browsing in and the books they carry about the lighthouse and keepers are wonderful reads.  

Thanks for stopping by and come back soon as I will be sharing more lighthouse drawings and photos each week. 

Grab a pencil, get outside and sketch! 

Have fun!


Thursday, November 7, 2013


Hi Everyone!

Last week we crossed the bridge to see what was on the other side..... more fabulous art pieces from ARTPRIZE! 

This week we'll cross over another bridge that takes us back to downtown Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) and more breathtaking art!  Oh my!! It was a real treat to have free admission to GRAM thanks to a benefactor's generosity that graciously pays for free admission for the general public each Tuesday! No cost to go see the very finest art exhibits, that is a very huge gift to art lovers around the city that may not have the means or opportunity to go otherwise. 

 Botanical Exotica by Jason Gamrath, a glass orchid garden; 5th place. I'm afraid my photos did not do justice to this incredible exhibit, I think may hands were shaking from the pure excitement of seeing these gigantic orchids in glass! Being an orchid lover and grower of orchids this exhibit just knocked my socks off! You can see more HERE

The following art pieces caught my eye, you can read the artist statement by clicking on the bold blue HERE.  

-HOLIC by Yunjang Kang. I loved this multifaceted yarn sculpture! The bold red color changes with the lighting. It reminds me of a coral reef. Read more about it HERE.

 FIELD STUDY 20 by Kim Cridler. A steel sculpture based on a thicket. You can read more about it HERE.

Here is the gray catbird (Dumetilla Carolinensis) caught within.

SESSILANOID by James Peterson an interactive sculpture of changing color inspired by barnacles. You can see more HERE.

MELANCHOLY by Adam Mulder.  You can read more HERE.

ILLUSION by Ana Michaelis.  A wonderful dream-like landscape. Read more HERE.

There was so much art to see and so many venues throughout the city ( To visit each venue go HERE) of Grand Rapids, kudos to the ARTPRIZE organization who did a terrific job in hosting this event!  I was truly impressed.  The local news did nightly coverage of the event which included music events each night and lots of interviews with the artists and the final announcement of the winners was a live televised show (To see the top prize winners go HERE). It was so much fun and I hope if you are near Grand Rapids next year that you will plan to attend the next ARTPRIZE.  

Thanks for joining me for the art tour.  I would encourage you to click on the links above and see more fantastic art entries!!  

Oh, and my favorites were: 
#1   Mohican Warrior by Roger Wermers.  You can see it HERE.  #2  Botanical Exotica by Jason Gamrath. You can see it above.  #3 Dancing With Mother Nature by  Paul Balicker. You can see it HERE

 Have an ARTful week!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Hi Everyone!

Happy Sketchbook Tuesday! I'm going to let you in on a little secret....I've been sketching with watercolors on top of my desk!  Yes, that's right!  I was rearranging my workspace AGAIN and I like to have a nice piece of paper as a blotter on top to catch the spills, etc.  The white of the paper was glaring in my face and that's when the watercolors came out and the leaf stamp went into action.

I loaded up the leaf stamp with paint and stamped the white paper.  It was fun and it is colorful.  Couldn't stop there so I did another little stamp/painting on a piece of paper.
This is the enhanced version of the desk top leaves.

If you'd like to see more leaf drawings check out SKETCHY GIRLZ, just click HERE.  I did a few sketches of leaves while I was visiting my daughter in Michigan.  Go check it out!

Love to hear from you.

Happy sketching!

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Hi Everyone!

Welcome back to the ARTPRIZE adventure!

Last week we were in downtown Grand Rapids, MI at ARTPRIZE, a month long international art competition displayed in venues within the city.

Today we are crossing the bridge to see what's on the other side.

Temperature was in the high 50's to lower 60 degrees, it was overcast with the threat of rain and the wind was blowing pretty hard as we crossed over the river, you can see the artful display of flags in the river were flapping  in the wind.

Crossing over and walking under the bridge to get to the Gerald R. Ford 

Presidential Museum, we saw Earth Giant by Benjamin Gazsi. Made from found natural materials within a grapevine and wire armature. He was massive in size, as was the crowd that wanted to view him!  It was tough to get a good angle on him with the crowds.  Won 6th place.

UP Lifting by Andy Sacksteder: A stunningly beautiful bronze sculpture water feature of Native Americans.  3rd prize winner! 

Dancing with Mother Nature by Paul Baliker a fourteen foot sculpture from cedar wood. Won 4th Place. 

Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore by Ann Loveless.  A four panel landscape art quilt using a collage of fabrics and machine applique.  Grand Prize Winner!!!

If you would like to see a complete listing and photos of the ART PRIZE winners work, please click HERE

Being a quilter myself I was delighted to see the landscape win the Grand Prize!  Was it my favorite?  Stay tuned for that answer......

Please join me again next Thursday and we travel back to town and visit the GRAM (Grand Rapids Art Museum) for more ART PRIZE and I'll reveal my favorite work of art.   

Thursday, October 24, 2013


  Hi Everyone!

 My SIL is in the military and was recently stationed in Grand Rapids, MI and so I had the opportunity to visit.  This was my first trip to Michigan and I was pretty excited to visit my family there, to see where they were living and explore the area.

 Just so happened there was an international art competition going on in the city called ARTPRIZE and we were lucky enough to be there to see the exhibits all around the city of Grand Rapids.  It was pretty impressive!  The top prize was $200,000!! So as you can imagine there was top notch art being displayed in the city venues.   We walked all over the city and visited as many venues as possible.  There was so much to see, each piece a masterpiece of ingenuity and creativity, my favorite pieces were made from recycled materials.  

This dragon was a centerpiece in the exhibit, it actually was made of recycled metals and it breathed fire!  this thing was HUGE.  

Tired Pandas made from recycled tires was among my favorites.

Tired Panda close up
This artist painted portraits of people in the crowd that he photographed on his cell phone, he incorporated each portrait into his work of art which created the images of the city and gave illusions of the downtown area.  It was an incredible work, standing in different marked spots on the pavement you could see different views of the city.  

These fabulous faces of Native Americans were carved from stone. They were incredible in the detail, absolutely exquisite works of art.  My favorite of all.

And then there was OVER THE BRIDGE......Please join me next Thursday  as we walk over the bridge and see what lies beyond.

 Until then....
Happy Travels!