Leaf Print - Double

One of our new Girl Scout leaders brought this great project to our meeting this week. Put a piece of fabric over a leaf and smash it with a hammer. The chlorophyll from the leaf becomes imbedded in the fabric and creates a beautiful imprint. I didn't make one in the meeting, but was anxious to try it at home. I taped my leaf to a piece of card stock so that it wouldn't shift. I was surprised to see when I removed the fabric that I had an imprint on the paper as well.


O Christmas Tree!

Yes. Christmas. Last year I was surprised to find myself on November 1 working furiously to coordinate a tree decorating project with Girl Scouts for the Lake County Visitor's Bureau. It was Halloween just the day before. This year I wanted to lead the project again and thought I was working well in advance to get it together and this week I was notified that the tree will have to be decorated on October 25! What a surprise that was.

I thought for sure that last year when I resigned as the leader of 2 troops I was going to find myself with all sorts of free time on my hands. I am a lot less stressed out about it, but...time? I spent my whole day off this week making sample ornament projects and getting instructions together. Tomorrow I am going on nature hike with the Brownies. Saturday I will be baking for a bake sale. And, Sunday I will be working the bake sale. These are all things I want to do, but Girl Scouts is still consuming my life.

If you are interested in making any of these little projects, here are some links for you. The first one is just scrap cardboard (cereal boxes) painted gold - using this template.
And the others...



This is re-post from 2 years ago when I began blogging. As I have said before, my intention for blogging was to put my art out into the world. It was only after I created my blog that I realized how much I enjoy writing. After having written this post, I wanted to add some art and so this little watercolor was my illustration of "Infinite".

It's funny to me, looking back, what a different frame of mind I am in now. I'm not really living in the mystery these days. Sort of just trying to make the most of daily life. I think I have become a little more patient with the girls, but I'm still looking for my car keys.

Infinite Possiblities.
No right or wrong, good or bad. I spend much of my time contemplating art and the metaphysical. No wonder my energies are scattered. I crave objectivity, but I am living in the mystery. I can’t deny it.

I feel blessed that I could open my mind really wide and consider the infinite possibilities. I have even considered the possibility that the possibilities may be finite as well. What good are all these ideas if I cannot manifest them into something to be shared?

I am aware that people show up in my life to teach me lessons. The faults we see in others are just reflections of our own. I can’t describe them as “faults” when my lessons are revealed to me by Maya and Eleanor. They are children. They are innocent. They don’t know any better. But, what I try to teach them, I really need to learn myself.

Focus. Make a decision. Just do it.
Here is what I am trying to get my kids to do, while I am a scatterbrain myself. Sure, I could get my shoes on, brush my teeth and get in the car without someone standing over me and repeating the directions several times. But, I have a long “to do” list at all times. Some items are daily, menial tasks, some are big life goals. Progress seems slow sometimes because my head is in the clouds. I need to focus. Make a decision. Just do it.

My greatest frustration is getting the girls out the door in the morning. What are you going to wear? What do you want for breakfast? What do you want for lunch? So many possibilities... and these are such huge decisions for small children because in the midst of all the uncertainty of the whole entire universe, this is what they can control.

I try to simplify the process by limiting the possibilities. Either THIS or THAT for breakfast. I’ll pick out your clothes even though I’d rather see you express your individuality in the way you dress. We don’t have time for that. What
kind of sandwich do you want in your lunch? And what will accompany it? Yogurt? That’s great! Strawberry or blueberry? I see you drift off... your eyes glazed over as if you are imagining the future where two parallel universes exist... and in one you are eating strawberry yogurt... and in another whole universe... it’s blueberry.

I’m sorry I raise my voice in anger. And I’m sorry I shame you for not putting your things where they belong while I search aimlessly for my car keys. I’m learning.



When time is short with ongoing interruptions I feel defeated when the day passes and I have made no effort to exercise. Today I was determined. At 8:35 pm I ran out the door and then two miles more. It's been a struggle lately, but that 2 miles felt almost effortless. It's a great way to end the day. Especially a hectic one. Maya did homework and they both ate fast food in the car while driving to IUN only to find that the gallery for the Fusion of the Arts Exhibit was not on campus, but further north on Broadway. I wasn't feeling too comfortable looking for an elusive address in Gary. One might have thought the Public Library would have had an address on the building or that the drop off information for the art show would have mentioned that the gallery was inside the library. It was an adventure. I am so grateful that the woman signing in work saw me at 7:05 getting out of my car as she was walking to hers. She stayed late so that I would not have to return tomorrow. As I ran this evening I contemplated dedicating the month of October to only art and no words for my posts. Ironically, I came home, sat down and spilled out this little ramble.



Mid-September bumper crop of tomatoes. The above photo is what I just picked. The photo below shows what I picked in addition to what was already in the house. I was wondering if we would ever get any tomoatoes. Now I am thinking about cooking up some sauce and putting it in the freezer. Perhaps I will also make a little zucchini bread.

Do You Like My Hat?

"Hello again. And now do you like my hat?"
"I do. What a hat! I like it!"


Happy Birthday Eleanor!

Ellie got a ride to school today because it's not easy carrying 32 brownies in a shirt box. Her school treat request was "The Best Brownies." This recipe is from the box of Hershey's unsweetened cocoa. When people taste them they honestly say "these are the best brownies." And I say, "The recipe is called 'The Best Brownies.'" Easy to whip up and delicious. Today I added sprinkles for the first time because sprinkles make class birthday treats even more exciting! Happy Birthday Ellie!

The Best Brownies


1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)


(recipe follows)


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch square baking pan. 2. Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in bowl. Add eggs; beat well with spoon. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in nuts, if desired. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. 3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Prepare CREAMY BROWNIE FROSTING; spread over brownies. Cut into squares. About 16 brownies. [I always double the recipe and put it in a 9x13 or a 10x15. 9x13 gives you a nice thick brownie. 10x15 stretches it so that you could cut enough for a whole class, plus have a few extras. Baking times may vary.]


3 Tbs. butter or margarine, softened

3 Tbs. HERSHEY'S Cocoa

1 Tbs. light corn syrup or honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 C. powdered sugar

1 to 2 Tbs. milk

Beat butter, cocoa, corn syrup and vanilla in small bowl until blended. Add powdered sugar and milk; beat to spreading consistency. About 1 cup frosting.


Furniture Before and After

I am so excited about this furniture! Thanks to design*sponge for the inspiration! The dresser was mine when I was young. My three sisters and I each had one. I ended up with 3 out of the 4 of them since, apparently, no one wanted theirs. I found the desk at a resale shop for $30. A little paint and new hardware makes these two pieces so hip and trendy for a tween girl's room. I'm such a cautious person, painting furniture (that's never been painted before) was quite a bold and daring move for me. It felt great! Of course "before" pictures are usually dramatically pathetic looking. These were shot completely un-staged. It would be nice if the dresser top could stay picture perfect, but I can't say I am a role model for neatness.


Circus follow up

It was awesome! Amazingly talented acrobats and trapeze artists. One totally hilarious clown. The only animal acts were poodles and ponies. To the best of my recollection, I don't think I've ever seen a circus in an actual tent. Every seat was up close and cozy. It was perfect except for the end. The show was cut short due to poor planning – I'm guessing the on part of the entertainment committee that books such events in the park. We could hear a fireworks display just outside the tent. The last act consisted of five elephants - they were introduced as the stars of the show. Long pause after the announcement. The elephants marched into the ring, posed once, then the ringmaster informed us that they were afraid of the fireworks and could not perform. By the time we all exited the Big Top, the fireworks display was over. Proper planning would have begun the fireworks show at 9:30 as opposed to 9. I'm glad the feelings of the elephants were respected, or maybe they were only taking safety precautions. The ringmaster looked a bit angry. I don't blame him.

Coaxed by the Calliope

When Ellie came home from school this week with buy one get one free ticket coupons for the circus, I was not interested in going. I really don't like circuses. Of course, there is something sweet and sentimental about taking a child, but I feel sorry for the animals. Circus life just can't be good for them. I told Ellie we would be having a busy weekend. I thought we could discretely avoid it. She might forget if we didn't drive by and see it right there in the park by our house.

This morning while we were getting laundry down the chute and tidying up the bedrooms... Hey! What's that sound? The circus is in town! The calliope music got me. I knew if we walked down to the park we would see them putting up the big top and we might see some elephants. How could you not visit elephants if they are right there in your very own park? Just a few blocks away things were just as I had suspected. We are all so excited that this evening we will be redeeming that coupon and watching the circus.


Sneak Peek

Vacation, Day 3: I could not have asked for more perfect weather to be on vacation. Perfect for doing anything outdoors, especially painting furniture out on the driveway. The actual cost of Maya's desk – my $30 re-sale shop find – turned out a bit more than $30. Primer, paint, new knobs, sandpaper, wood filler and many trips to both the local hardware store and the big box home improvement center makes me realize spending $100 on a desk would not really have been so outrageous. But, It has been a creative endeavor that I have enjoyed. Just a little sanding on a couple of spots I need to touch up tomorrow and I will be done with the desk and a dresser. I love, love, love this color! It was over 2 years ago that Maya decided when she got her own room she wanted it to be blue and green. Here I am - finally getting it together. Why does this trendy color remind me of 'becca and April so much?


No art. Just words.

The thought had crossed my mind to blog everyday in September. I had also considered getting serious about diet and exercise - as if it were January 1. Well, now it is September 2 and so it is too late to blog everyday in September. It's never too late to begin a new exercise program. I'm not sure why I've struggled with this lately? Maybe tomorrow? Today, I very much enjoyed my first day off since everyone is back at school. I started painting some furniture for the bedroom makeovers. So far I am very happy with the results and before/after photos will be coming soon. I love spending quiet time alone. As a mom, I need to learn how to spend quiet time alone guilt-free.