Monday, June 22, 2015

OF THEE I SING . . . .

I'm always surprised by the things that inspire me to make something. For instance this little vintage piece of flag ribbon. The ribbon was originally used by women who would cut each piece and hand make little flags for your lapel or hat. I knew I would use it for something - first, because I love anything vintage and second, it had an interesting history in a time when most things were handmade in the U.S.A. and less things were mass produced.

As a mixed media artist, one of my favorite things to make are the Santos Cage Dolls.  I try to keep one on hand so when the inspiration hits me, I don't have to wait. Waiting is so hard when you are inspired. However, I order mine from Retro Cafe Art Gallery and mailing is super fast so I usually have my order in a couple days anyway and with Jelly Beans! My other favorite muse lately has been Relics and Artifacts by Sandra Evertson in conjunction with Prima Marketing Inc. I tend to keep these on hand as well because I have yet to find a lack of inspiration from them. So, with this little flag piece of ribbon and my recent order from Retro Cafe Art  Gallery this week, as soon as I opened it, I knew " My Lady of The U.S.A. was about to be born.

  The hardest thing for me is the beginning, getting all my pieces organized and priming them (back, front and sides) with gesso. I compare it to getting out the Christmas tree and having to assemble it first before you can start decorating it. It's agonizing, because I love decorating the Christmas tree. 
 Then I paint my colors. Planning at this stage is important before you start assembling your doll. Any stamping or writing I am going to do gets done before anything is put together. On this doll, I sanded all the edges to distress the doll and give it a little aged look.

The next thing that goes together is the bottom cage first. This is where I rely on my gorilla. I only used gorilla glue on the assemblage pieces because it will dry fast and strongly hold everything together, it never fails me!

I put a little glue in each cut out and even dip the tip of the nails in the glue before putting it in each slat.  And I do a lot of wiping with a wet wipe because I am so messy. I always make sure that I have assembled everything I am going to put in the cage before I put the cage  together.

For the bottom of my cage I used a red, white , and blue paper cupcake holder that I bought for cupcakes for the 4th of July. I spotted these on the counter when I was washing the glue off my fingers. (You never know what will inspire you)  I just completely flattened it out and glued it down going over it several times with my fingers pressing hard to get all the wrinkles out. There are tools for this, but I always end up using my hands.

For the body of the doll, I add the arms first attaching them with the brads included. I generally cut the brads shorter so they don't stick out. 

The face I used from Sandra's Relics and Artifacts was the perfect size for this large size Santos Doll kit. After painting the face and making the hat with vintage ribbon, I glued the face to the doll.

 Once the body of the doll is complete, then I add it to the bottom half of the cage doll, again adding a little glue and firmly pushing it in. The rest is just finish work (like tinsel on the tree) adding things you might want to add to the front or back side. I thought it was only appropriate that her hand was placed over her heart and she was holding our beloved flag.

"Sweet Land of Liberty,  of Thee I Sing"

I love making mixed media and assemblage pieces. I have finally come to terms with myself, enjoying what I do more than ever with "beautiful inadequacy", ... a sweet relief, a rest of my soul, an acknowledgment that I will never perform perfectly, producing a peace within me that confirms enjoying myself is enough.

What has inspired  you lately to create something?

Thank you for stopping in and for leaving your lovely comments, you make my day!
And for my friends in the U.S.A. , Happy Fourth of July! XOXO

Sunday, May 31, 2015


I would like to start out this post by telling you about my far away travels and how my journeys took me to this ancient ruin where I found these amazing relics and artifacts. The truth is that I didn't even have to physically leave my studio but my Dreams were hundreds of years away as I worked on this Large Exquisite Santos Doll Antiquity Shrine Kit from Retro Cafe Art Gallery

 As of late I have been completely taken away with the Relics and Artifacts by Sandra Evertson and Prima Marketing, Inc. When I saw this new Santos Doll from Retro Cafe Art Gallery, I knew I was about to embark on a journey for Ancient Relics and Artifacts.


The making of this doll took days, which any good journey does, and there are things I learned along the way that I would do differently if making one again, but all in all, I think my Found Ancient Santos Doll turned out better than I expected and with surprising results as most everything was done by trial and error.

 I have to admit that was truly the most fun of my journey with it, experimenting with different techniques, textures and layers, just like a real "Art-ti-ologist! :)

This is what the shrine part looks like once you get it put together, without the doll on top. My first thought was to add the doll later, since I wanted to paint and finish most of her before adding her to the shrine.

 I added Gesso on all parts and then began adding texture by gluing different strips of paper on the entire piece. Molding paste was the final texture added. I love working with molding paste.
FUN TIP: If you look closely, some of the texture is from different textured papers I added, and also from this:

 It is a sample of wallpaper from a textured wallpaper book I acquired.  I have used these samples on so many things. The book is free and you can ask for them when they are retired at any place that sells wallpaper. Check your Home Depot, Lowe's, and or paint stores.                                            

BIG TIP#1: Don't cover up the hole where you are suppose to attach the Santos Doll to the Shrine! Eeek!
After I covered the shrine in gesso, layers of paper, molding paste and more paper, there was no uncovering the hole. Okay, so I would improvise later on with that.

I already knew I wanted Sandra Evertson's Archival Cast Ancient Heart to be the center piece for the Shrine and I wanted to break it into pieces for two purposes. One to add authenticity of age and the other to go with the quote that I love; "The wound is the place where the light enters you" by Rumi which I added almost illegible on the back. Sandra's pieces are so tough and sound that you can even drill into them, so I wasn't sure that I could even crack them with a hammer. After a few swift whacks on concrete it broke into three pieces. "Ouch", watch fingers. The toughness really added to the fact that it did not cause the pieces to splinter or crack into pieces too small to use.

 BIG TIP#2: Add your eye hook to the top of the shrine (to hang your flaming heart) BEFORE you put the shrine together or before you add so much texture that you can't get it in. That was problem number two.

I had my heart set on it so I had to put on my thinking cap.This just goes to show you that sometimes your mistakes can take you in a better direction or one at least as good as what you originally intended. I have always maintained, "Where there is a will, there is a way". All I needed was a wooden two inch block that I could paint and make it look like an aged stone that the heart could sit on it or look like it was sitting on it. 

To the back of the three broken heart pieces, I added a little fat wooden spool, one that I purchased at Hobby Lobby to use as feet on some of my previous wooden ATB dolls. I glued one spool on the back of each piece and to the back of the flame. Once dried, I  attached all the pieces to the back wall of the inside of the shrine. This made the heart stick out from the wall giving it a 3D effect.  I also added gold leaf to the cracks to make it look like the light was shining through the cracks. Mistake fixed and I think I even like it better.

 I wanted the shrine to have feet, so I glued two wooden blocks together, tapped in a nail or two for an aged look. I then painted and added these great little pieces to all the sides that I found in my stash box. It helps to have a nice stash of supplies from Retro Cafe Art Gallery.

 All the little brass fish, beads and findings on the shrine came from Linden Avenue Designs on Etsy, with the exception of the crosses which I made from paper clay. The brass crown is from Retro Cafe Art Gallery as well as Sandra Everton's Relics and Artifacts on this piece which include: Hands- Archival Cast - Milagros, Flaming Heart Ex Votos II, Archival Cast - Visage, Wings-Archival Cast- Rising Spirit III, the scroll on the head piece came with the Large Santos Doll Antiquity Kit from Retro Cafe Art Gallery.

 I also included one of Retro Cafe Art Gallery's Vintage Door Knockers (Dimensional embellishments) and placed it upside down.

The picture on the back is also from Retro Cafe Art Gallery and the flaming heart on the back side was one that I previously made, I just changed out the picture in the center  and  added it as a nice addition to the back.

BIG TIP#3: I used the wings from Sandra's Archival Cast - Ancient Soul. I originally thought I would wire them through the top arm holes. I worked with that for a while and it just wasn't happening. Then I remembered that I had in my stash from Retro Cafe Gallery, a variety of Masonite wings used for previous projects. I had to cut a pair of them in half since they would not be long enough to go across the back and then glued each half to each side of the back. 

That gave me a platform to glue on the wings from Relics and Artifacts. It worked perfect.

 I didn't even mind that you could see the other set of wings because after all, it is an ancient piece of art, right?

 This piece is tall, heavy and feels like it is old. I am not sure it ended up like I imagined it when I started out, but that is all part of the journey.. the discoveries along the way, and the things we learn from them.  

Many thanks for visiting my blog today as I shared my journey with you. Remember, "The wound is the place where the light enters you". We all fall, we all fail and we can always try again. 

Credits to Retro Cafe Linden Avenue DesignSandra Evertson and Prima Marketing, Inc. for these amazing supplies and art pieces and a shout out to Jessica Brogan whose post I just read and admired about encouraging others to share their art. Thanks Jessica, fabulous inspiring post! I love it when people share.

Leave a comment if you have a moment, I would love to know that you were here!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Dreams Do Come True if you Believe!

I feel so blessed to be published in the Somerset Studio Gallery 2015 which will hit newstands June 1st.
When I received the letter from  Natalie Way at Stampington and Company that they wanted to feature my Altered Art Angel,
I was over the moon excited and thrilled with gratitude to be published in one of my very favorite art magazines along with so many of my favorite art sisters; Cat Kerr, Vickie Krammerer, Lynne Moncrieff, Kelli Jean May-krenz, Renee Zarate, e'Layne Koenigsberg, Sherri Welser,Dina Speed Wakley, Sherry Westfall Matthews,Lynne Simon Suprock, Carolyn Dube and so many more! 

It was huge heart pounding surprise for me to find out that I was also on the cover. Although Somerset Studio never disappoints in meeting inspiring artists, viewing amazing artwork, and gathering more than inspiration than one brain can possibly hold, this issue is just filled to the brim with pure Magic!

I have been a fan of cage dolls  forever and really became addicted when I purchased my first kit for a smaller one from Retro Cafe Art Gallery. After that I was hooked. I made several of the smaller ones before trying my hand at one of the larger ones. The one featured on the cover is one of the larger cage doll kits you can find at Retro Cafe Art Gallery along with a lot of other very cool supplies.

This month I also had the privilege of being published in the Spring Issue of Art Doll Quarterly at Stampington and Company (many hugs and thanks to Editor Jana Holstein) for featuring my Art Dolls. The issue is packed full of the most inspiring creative creatures and artwork. I am filled with gratitude to  be included with these amazing artists, whose artwork I will definitely be watching. My dolls came to life through an Art Doll Workshop I took at Artful Gathering with instructor Mary Jane Chadbourne last Summer. You could purchase the doll kits through her shop that  she and her husband constructed together. I am not good with power tools so this and Art Tea Life's art images from Etsy were a match made in heaven. 

I don't know when I've have so much excitement all in such a  short span of time, but I am grateful beyond words and I will keep believing and doing what I love, because that's what it's all about.
My friend Cat Kerr who is the newest member of the design team for Retro Cafe Art Gallery (So proud of her) and also on the front cover of the current issue of Somerset Studio below with her beautiful art, sent me this quote and fits my blog so well that I think I will add it somewhere:

"For those determined to fly, having no wings, is just a minor detail"  - Janet Lee Logan

Cat Kerr's Beautiful Cover Art

Thank you Cat Kerr, and Thank you Stampington and Company, Jana Holstein and Natalie Way for believing in me! If you haven't held one of these magazines in your hands, then you are in for a real treat!

Now, if you hurry, you may be able to catch one of these beauties in her Etsy shop, she just posted.

and this little birdie, sang, "La, la, la, all the way home"

Monday, April 27, 2015


 This is my second round of making these Jumbo Art Wooden Clothespins. The first round came about because I was participating in a swap that involved creating one jumbo clothespin for another person and receiving one back from that person. They looked like a lot of fun to make so in ordering mine, I ordered six of them simply because it was cheaper than ordering just one.

 I love handmade items to gift and I knew I could add them to my Etsy shop for something different so I didn't mind the extra's. I was however, very surprised after adding them that they sold within the first few hours and then came the request from friends and family who missed out on them... so that sent me back for another order. The images on these pins came from Art Tea Life on Etsy and from Paper Whimsey.
  I don't know how on earth I managed to find the time to make more of these, but when it comes right down to it, I think we can all find time for something we love. Life is so full of Sweet Pleasures.

My second round of clothespins arrived in the  mail and I have been working steadily to complete them. I have my gifted ones and requested ones set aside and these are the ones that will be offered in my shop. Upon ordering them again, I found to my surprise that they also have these GIANT clothespins, 3" taller than the 6" JUMBO ones. I wasn't sure how I would like them so I only ordered three of them. The quality was just as good and I have to say that I love them as much, if not more. They will definitely take on more papers or hold bigger items and they would make great little signs for your studio or any office that has a check in window! 
 Thinking that my wonderful vet's office and my local Carti center might need one of these at their window! Also a fun place to leave notes for your kids! Making my second round of them, all kinds of ideas came to mind.

This is the back side to the one above. I like to use a colors complimented by whimsey, humor and encouraging words. The back side is the perfect place to personalize the clothespin with quotes, words, or something special pertaining to the receiver.


 I sand and paint each piece first with a variety of colors and then depending on the collage I use, I add more paint to the clothespin that compliments the colors used in the collage.


 Art is a great tool to use your VOICE and to share something you believe in with others.

 "Love More" was one of my favorites and "I Art for Cake", I mean sometimes, all we need is Cake!

 This is a sample of some of the Art I put on the backsides. (From the ones above). I never make the same one twice, so it's always fun to see how each one turns out.
This one sits next to my coffee pot as if anyone needs a reminder at my house! :)
 I made this one for my desk because it speaks to ME. It took me a long time to "BE FEARLESS", to let go of those voices that hold you back. Now I create without a thought of what if's or who cares. I pour out my creativity with Joy and I fly without Wings! There is a great freedom in celebrating what comes from your Soul.
I added the word on front..
"UNSTOPPABLE".. and I love this quote: 
"She was unstoppable, Not because she did not have failures or doubts, But because she continued despite them." *Beau Taplin

 Thank you special whoever you are for stopping in to take a peek. I cherish your comments, so don't go away without saying "Hello".