Let me off the grid! A journey toward artful, holistic living in the middle of Sin City...

A journey toward artful, holistic living in the middle of Sin City...

Friday, December 30, 2011


Janus is the Roman god of thresholds, gateways, beginnings, endings, transitions, and time.  It was high time that I finished this plaque (begun about three years ago) and put it in its place of honor outside our front door.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


We got our daughter her first car today.  She is floating on air.  I'm so happy and excited for her.  It's a joy to see her moving toward independence and adulthood.
The parent part of me is absolutely terrified.  Every time she's out and I hear a siren, my heart goes into panic attack mode.  She just called to ask me something, but when I looked at the phone and saw it was her, my blood turned to ice.  The Husband says I need to go meditate.  I think I need to go have a drink.  Or two...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

101 Things in 1001 Days

You know how everybody starts planning out their New Year's Resolutions right around now?  And how they're forgotten, ignored, swept under the couch with the dust bunnies by the second week of January?  Well, this year, I'm not doing that.  This year, I've made a list of 101 Things I Want to Accomplish in 1001 Days.  I learned about it from Lynda at The Holistic Knitter's Blog.  Seems there's a website, Day Zero Project where lots of other folks are creating their own lists of 101 things to do.  I like the idea so well that I'm creating a journal to keep track of it all.  I love this journal because I made it from old magazines that I bound together and covered with a Trader Joe's shopping bag.  Here are the first two pages:

Of course, after I began using it, I found things I didn't like (the spaces are too small, for one thing).  So now I'm revising the calendar pages into a two-page spread.  I'll add more pictures over time.  I'm also in the process of creating a page on this blog with my list of 101 Things, which I'll edit as I make progress on/complete items.  To be continued...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day and other stuff...

So...Boxing Day.  What is that?  Some sort of pugilistic festival?  A special day for packing things away?  Should my ears be worried?  Can anyone enlighten me on this???

Here's what I've been doing today:
Thank you cards, 2011!  Yep, that and laundry and housekeeping.  Oh, I am putting clothes in boxes for storage, so I guess I am participating in the festivities of the day...

What's everyone else up to?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tiny Treasures Class

Here are some pictures of the beautiful creations from my latest mail art class:
This is a background for a series of autumn-inspired ATCs I'm working on (watercolor).

Here are some lovely ATCs in progress by the women who attended.

These are inchies done on black paper with metallic gel pens.  Quick fun.  Other things not captured on camera (because we were too busy laughing and talking and creating AND I didn't think about it until too late!) were bookmarks and watercolor inchies and ATCs.  As usual, I overplanned and we didn't get to finish everything, but I think a good time was had by all.

In January, I'll be repeating this series, probably on Wednesday evenings and will be doing an Altered Book series on Sunday afternoons.  I'd  love to see you there!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Yule

May the gifts of the season fill your lives with warmth, love and laughter.  Merry Yule, everyone!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

More from the Mail Art Class

Just a quick post to show off some wonderful postcards made by the artists who attended last week's mail art class.  Tomorrow we'll be creating inchies, ATCs, bookmarks, and tags.  Now I'm off to finish the examples for tomorrow's class. 

Am I ever going to have time to decorate for the holidays???

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Snowy Night Envelopes

Here is one of my completed envelopes.  The color is kind of wonky, but you get the idea.  Going down to 29 degrees tonight.  Wishing for snow...


Got up super early to work on a series of mail art envelopes.  It's gotten down into the 20's at night and I'm feeling wistful about snow.  So I decided to make my own "snowy nights" to send through the mail.  I'll post a picture of the finished items soon.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mail Art Class

My first class this past Sunday went so well.  I had three students and we spent the afternoon creating some beautiful envelopes.  Below, you can see the back of one of Sara's envelopes:
I wish I'd taken more pictures, because the ladies who participated made lovely work.  But we were so busy creating that I didn't think about the camera until it was too late.  Those three hours flew by.  Just a reminder to anyone in the Las Vegas area that this coming Sunday we'll be making post cards.  I'd love to see you there!

Monday, November 28, 2011

a new blog

Hello, all!  Just wanted to let you know that I've created another blog for my mail art adventure.  You can find it here:  I'll be posting pictures of mail art that I send out and art that I receive.  If you'd like to join in the postal revolution, just ask me how.  The more the merrier!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I have spent the weekend cleaning out my art studio/guest room.  What began as a quick clean-up (my husband has a friend coming into town this Friday) has turned into a major overhaul.  I'm in the process of going through every single box, bin, and bag and sorting, dumping and setting aside for the "Great American Yard Sale".  Good grief!  How in the world I've managed to amass such a load of stuff I cannot tell you.  My shelves are now filled with boxes that are neatly labeled and I can see a large part of the floor.  Thought I'd post something while I took a break to eat, and then get back to it.  Hope everyone's Thanksgiving was filled with laughter and good company and that you've all recovered from the feast!

Friday, November 18, 2011

A New Adventure

Well here's a cautionary tale about being careful of what you ask for...for quite a while now, I've been thinking that I'd like to try my hand at teaching art workshops to adults (read as:  people who want to be there, not a captive audience).  A few weeks ago, I mentioned this to a friend and it seems like the universe just took me at my word because last week there was a call for teachers at a local gallery (CITY OF THE WORLD in the arts district here in Las Vegas).  I spoke with Roz Knight (an amazing artistic force in this city) and within minutes I found myself "signed up" to teach classes there!  I'm excited and slightly terrified as I begin preparing for three 3-hour workshops to be held on the first three Sundays of December.  We'll be doing "Mail Art".  Each session will consist of different techniques and ideas.  I finished a couple of flyers and will begin hanging/handing them out this weekend.  Woo-hoo!  Hopefully people will show up...

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Time For Letting Go

I've been thinking a lot about what I wanted to say in my 100th post.  At this time of year there is much focus on honoring the lives of those who have gone before.  This is a big part of my celebration of the holiday.  But I have also been thinking about letting go of those things that no longer serve me.  It's a bit of "fall housekeeping" -- physical, emotional, and spiritual.  It has always made sense to me that if you are inviting the ancestors in for the dark half of the year, then you should do so with a clean house, both literally and figuratively.  Thus, I have been clearing out a LOT of baggage in every sense of the word.  The amount of physical stuff I have acquired over a lifetime is staggering.  And embarrassing.  Every time I send another box or bag out the door, I feel just a bit lighter.  Obviously, this culling is going to take some time, but now that the process has been set in motion I hope to have things pretty much cleared out by spring.  There is absolutely no reason for me to have all this stuff (there probably never was a good reason).

I have also been thinking about my interior life.  Cleaning out the cobwebs here is a bit more challenging, as it requires serious reflection on who I was, who I am now and who I am becoming.  I find letting go of old notions of personal identity somewhat uncomfortable.  As silly as it may sound, my hair was one of those things.  I know intellectually that my hair isn't me, but for most of my life I've thought of it as an outward manifestation of who I was.  However, that shaggy mess looked bad, was hard to take care of and spent most of it's time pinned to the top of my head.  Now that I've cut it off, my life suddenly became a bit easier -- no more fussing, drying, styling.  Now I can hop out of the shower, towel it off and go.  Easy.  It occurs to me that this is a  metaphor for all of life's baggage.  I spend so much time hanging onto "stuff" and once I let it fall away, life becomes much easier.  The path is cleared to move on.  In letting go of "old me" things, the "new me" rushes in to fill that space.  Rather than being scary, I find it a relief.

May the season bestow its gifts upon us all.  May we have the courage and grace to receive them.  Blessed Samhain, everyone.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekend Fun

I just got back from a weekend conference put on by the Art Educators of Nevada.  It was held in Boulder City, a wonderful small town about a half hour drive from my house.  It really felt like a vacation.  Boulder City is so different from Las Vegas; it reminds me of small towns in Ohio, where I grew up.  I spent the weekend with other art teachers from around the state.  We made beautiful things, talked about how to advocate for the arts, and went on a walking tour to see the sculptures on display around the town.  It was very difficult to choose what classes to take because they were all interesting.

These little cuties are made from pumpkin and sesame seeds.  One is a pin, the other a magnet.  My second graders are going to love making these.

 This is a wine bottle that's been fingerpainted with acrylics.  After it dried, the silhouettes were painted on with a brush (fingers just don't do details that well :).

It took two hours to learn to do copper tooling, and because I can't do anything simple, I didn't finish the other copper dangles that I'd cut out.  I brought them home and will finish later.

I think this is my favorite.  We learned about Tiffany and his stained glass.  This is embossed on very thin black foil paper.  We used metallic colored pencils and Gelly Roll pens.  Then we covered a square of cardboard with it (we were supposed to make two, but again, I can't do anything simple, so I brought home my other square to do later).  After the squares were covered, we used them as covers for this folded paper book:
I'm really tired and not looking forward to getting up early tomorrow to go to work (I need another weekend to recover!), but it was well worth it.

When I got home, I found that my scarlet runner beans have started to bloom!
My garden is really happy that the nights are cooler and the days are warm.  Actually, we all are!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pine Straw

I really scored this weekend.  While driving to give blood on Saturday, I noticed a grounds crew was raking up pine straw all along the street I was traveling on.  I pulled over and asked one of the workers what they did with it once they'd bagged it up and he said they throw it away.  I asked if I could come back and take some for my garden and he said absolutely.  So I got four huge bags of pine straw to mulch my garden for free.  I wish I'd been able to get more, but it wouldn't fit in my car.  I'll have to keep my eyes open for the next time the crews are out!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More Hogwarts Friends

Here are two more zettified Hogwarts professors.  These are great fun to do and I'll be making them into postcards to send off to folks who are Harry Potter fans.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Welcome, October!

Once October arrives, I know it's truly autumn, regardless of what's happening outside.  This morning started off quite cloudy, (wonderful for drinking coffee in the "morning room") but it got hotter and sunny in the afternoon.  I cleaned out the bed with my poor corn stalks and used them to make two wreaths and two shocks which will fit perfectly on my outdoor altar.  Pictures of those to come, as I haven't finished decorating them...

Here's what's growing:
Now, this might not look like much to those of you in more temperate climes, but to have this much robust color in the Mojave Desert just tickles me to no end.

Here we have beans (3 kinds - scarlet runner, purple, and yellow bush beans), radishes, and shelling peas.

Today, Morgan and I were going to decorate the house (once October hits, it's Halloween all month as far as we're concerned), but we were waylaid by the creative impulse.  The dining room table was clean this morning but now...
Hmmm...well, we got a lot of stuff done.  I worked on my zettified Hogwarts friends, did a section in my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project 2012:

and made this postcard for one of Morgan's friends who is on the other side of the country and needs some good mail days:

Any Twin Peaks fans out there?  I also worked on making a new art journal, using old magazines which I bound together with E-6000 and then covered with a brown paper bag from Trader Joe's.  Talk about repurposing!  I got the idea from Paula at Journal Artista (  She doesn't give any directions, but I thought it was cool enough to give it a go myself.  The glue isn't dry yet and no embellishments, so I'll wait until I play with it and then I'll post some pictures.

That's what's going on around here.  Now off to make chicken fajitas...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rain, Glorious Rain

For three days!!!  My skin is happy, my hair is happy, my garden is happy.  I think there is a fundamental difference between water that comes from the sky and that which comes from the end of a garden hose.  The world smells so much better, and strange things appear over night from the ground.  The radishes are up!

I'm sorry I didn't get out with my camera this morning.  There were strange little blue mushrooms that sprang up in clumps in every bed of my garden.  They withered away to nothing by this afternoon.  However, these little gems were waiting for me when I arrived home today:
Who says Mother Nature doesn't have a sense of humor?  There is nothing more I could add to this.  I think the picture says it all...

Monday, September 12, 2011


After planting this weekend, I was left with some empty seed packages, so I decided to make them into postcards.  (I thought the packets were too pretty to throw away.)  I cut them open, tore off the fronts and glued them to 6"x4" index cards.  Then I added some fruit/veggie stickers (we have a huge page of them hanging on our refrigerator -- we just stick them on there when we wash the produce).  And I added some machine stitching.  Fun, yes?  Hopefully fun for people receiving them, too!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Second Season Planting

The weather today is so beautiful -- a hint of what is to come.  We were able to leave the windows open last night.  Such a treat to have "real" air in the house.  This morning I cleaned out a couple of beds and made this tepee for the scarlet runner beans I planted.  (The tepee is made from old torches that were unusable.  I love to re-purpose!)  I don't know if we'll get beans before cold weather sets in, but hopefully we'll get some flowers for the bees.  I noticed a very happy bee hanging out around my cucumber flowers today.  Perhaps she'll invite her friends...

Also in the ground:  yellow wax beans, purple bush beans, radishes and peas.  I'll put in lettuces and kale in the next few days.  So happy to be outside working without heat exhaustion!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Moon Bed

Woo-hoo!!!  I was determined to get this finished this weekend.  And here it is, only Saturday morning.

I still need to sew elastic bands on the cover so it won't slip off and make the pillow covers.  Planning to get those done today.  Then, hurray!  Another project completed.  If only the weather would cool off so we can enjoy it...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Repurposing Furniture

My daughter has outgrown several pieces of her bedroom furniture.  Here's her old dresser:

Too icky to sell in a yard sale, so I painted it...
And turned it into an altar in our courtyard:
This weekend, I'll paint the bunk bed frame and turn it into the "moon bed".  I went to the fabric store last weekend and purchased the fabric and pillow forms for it.  Won't it be lovely on cool autumn evenings?  I can't wait!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Junk Mail Book

Here are pictures of my junk mail book from Carla's last summer camp class.  This was a lot of fun to make and put together.  Tomorrow we add illustrations and I guess Friday we add finishing touches.  I see all kinds of potential for future art projects!