Wednesday, June 25, 2014


WOW!  It seems like only yesterday I was waxing nostalgic over May.  Now we are standing at the edge of another month.  For me, June has been chock full of fortunate encounters.  It seems only fitting to share them here.  First, a word *or three* about the title of this post.  Talk about a "blast from the past"...

When I was a wee girl of 5 or 6, I had a beautiful, blue record player.  It looked much like a small, hard-sided suitcase (or typewriter case).  I loved my record player, even if the records I had did make for a rather odd collection.  Comprised of an odd assortment of 78 rpm records in bright yellow (with classics such as "Turkey in the Straw (Turkey in the Hay)", "Shine On Harvest Moon", and the like), and a few 'read along story books' with their own 45 rpm discs, the real treasures of my collection were a trio of 33 rpm albums handed down from my mom:  "With Love, Bobby," "Peter Paul and Mary - 10 Years Together," and "Walt Disney's Happiest Songs" (a promo/tie-in with Gulf Gas Stations released the year before I was born).  Thus began a life-long love of music (in general), and liner notes (specifically).

I was a singing fool!  One of my clearest memories from this time is singing *on the top of our lungs!* selections from each of these, while pumping my legs on any swing set I could find -- oh, how I loved to swing and sing!  *Julie, Julie, Julie, Do You LOVE Me? -- I DIG Rock 'n Roll Music -- When You Wish Upon a Star*  To this day, I can sing *from memory, thankyouverymuch* every line from "Fortuosity" -- and these days, that little ditty seems to sum up my daily outlook better than any other tune that comes to mind!  This merry month of June has proven no exception.

The month began with a book give-away on the Blog of the wildly talented artist and author Quinn McDonald of Quinn Creative.  As I normally do, upon reading about the the book she was giving away I looked it up on Amazon and added it to my wish list...  I was thrilled to be notified that I had won, and have spent more than a little happy time perusing its pages (and adding to the marginalia).  I am thoroughly enjoying my copy of "Finding What You Didn't Lose" by John Fox.  Thanks, Quinn -- I love it!  The beautiful post card featuring Quinn's work (and a sweet hand-written note) is a fitting book mark, to boot!

 The mail continued to deliver happy moments with the  delivery of a little gifty from one of our ReMe Retreats guests!  Laurie Beth Seehusen snagged a last-minute cancellation spot for our May event in Ocracoke only 2 weeks before we gathered on the Outer Banks of NC...  In doing so, she took a flying leap at something she had never done before. She joined in with all of her being, but did not have time to gather or create a "Gift-a-Thon" offering.  Upon returning home (to Texas), she found the perfect thing for her ReMe buddies:  The Freaker!  Their tag line, "1 Freaker, Every Bottle," sums up nicely the job(s) that this quirky character can do.  It fits nearly EVERY thing:  baby bottles, canned beverages, bottles (up to a wine bottle), and 'go cups!'  It was created by a young man from right down the NC coast in Beaufort; he was featured on the TV show "Shark Tank."  How cool, to learn about something from right here at home from a friend so far away!  I received Sherlock Homie, and couldn't be happier -- it works like a charm!  Thanks, again, Laurie Beth!

Back in January, my fellow CMMAG Guild members and I embarked on a journey of creative sharing endearingly called YORCA -- a handy acronym for the Year of Random Creative Acts.  Just last week, I was the happy recipient of one of those kind and creative acts when a bubble mailer arrived from the lovely Iris Musslewhite!  Nestled within the tissue wrapping (secured with one of the very labels that I designed) was THIS thing of beauty -- a most lovely, mixed media bracelet.  The colors are rich and deep, bringing to mind virtually every piece of clothing that I love to snuggle into in the Fall and Winter.  That won't stop me from enjoying it throughout the dog days of Summer, tho'!  It is gorgeous, Iris, thank you for thinking of me.

Speaking of the CMMAG, it was my pleasure to welcome a student from my "Long MAY You Wave" class to our meeting in June.  Deb Averitt came to our General Meeting, and brought a friend -- she also brought her Flag Book from my class.  She had finished her colorful, kinetic color-wheel by collaging images onto the flags for each color; it was FAB-U-LOUS!  I love it when folks make a project their own by adding things that they love.  Deb's finished book is a perfect example of that very thing.  Thank you, Deb, for sharing your book with us, and for your very kind words about your workshop experience with me.

As regular readers of this Blog know, my ReMe partners (Jean Skipper and Jodi Ohl) and I are in the midst of our 2nd Blog Hop.  This is a tried and true vehicle for driving traffic on the interwebs, and back in May I followed the flow of traffic on a Blog Hop for my far-away-friend Jill K Berry's latest book:  Map Art Lab.  Much to my utter delight, I won the drawing on her site for a copy of this treasure.  It arrived last week, and I look forward to spending more time between its covers -- it bears lingering.  If you enjoy map imagery and incorporating it in your own work, I highly recommend this beautiful book!  An added bonus is that it also includes work from two other artists whose work I love, and who I know personally:  Amy Smith and Cathy Taylor!

As if ALL of this wasn't enough, I will wrap up the month of June with a visit to Richmond, VA to spend a little time with friends old and new!  I'll return home via Raleigh, after this month's workshop at Jerry's Artarama:  Mixed Media Triptych - One Work in Three Parts.  There is still room to join us, as we beat the Summer heat by spending a day learning some cool techniques using text and acrylic mediums for texture and visual interest!  It promises to be a BIG, fun day & I'd love to see you there!

Until next time!

Onward & Upward,

Words of wisdom for today:

"God is a comedian
playing to an audience
too afraid to laugh."

                                    - Voltaire

Photo Notes:
    Flag Book Finished - by Deb Averitt

Monday, June 16, 2014

Memories of May - Week 2

Hello, and welcome to the 2nd stop on the ReMe “Memories of May” Blog Hop!  Jodi’s posts last week (on both her Blog and the ReMe Blog) had my mind a’whirl with all of the magical moments that combined to make our 1st event in Ocracoke a smashing success.  I have written and edited, and written and edited, and pared down, and edited some more; finally coming to the realization that I will never winnow this story down to anything approaching a “condensed version!”  SO…  I decided that if a picture was worth 1,000 words I could make this easier for all involved by showing you the majority of my favorite things (‘cause telling them all would take WAY too long)!

Any visit to Ocracoke is brightened by one’s mere arrival!  As I mentioned in our kick-off announcement, there is a certain “falling away” of the day-to-day once you are on the Ferry.  After the ponderous vessel delivers you to the dock on OCR, the sense of having “arrived” is palpable – the air feels different, the screech and swoop of the gulls and pelicans like a song in a foreign language, and the sense of being on “island time” enrobes body and mind.  So I guess my 1st favorite thing is the location itself!

You are HERE!

Our Home Away from Home

We already knew and loved the place (both the Island and our home for the week).  Another thing that made our time in May so wonderful was that we were not merely “in” place, but extra effort was put into being “of” this beautiful place for the time that we were there, as well.  In planning for this event, we included the people and places that make their lives here.  In this way, we were able to show our guests more than a vacation destination – we were able to bring them up close and personal with the ‘real life’ of the island.  From bringing special guests in as speakers at the house, to Field Trips to take in the unique character of the Village, to obtaining our shrimp for our final dinner from the Waterman’s Association – we elevated our visitors to at least one or two rungs above “Dingbatter Status

A favorite stop on any visit to Ocracoke:
the cozy confines of Books to be Red!

Bringing together a group of women from ALL over the country added another layer of wonderment to our time together.  Only ONE of our guests had ever been to Ocracoke before.  It was very special to see each of them experiencing this place for the first time!  Who but a group of artists would turn viewing a glorious sunset into art itself?

The first of many gatherings on our sound-front beach
to watch the sun slip away

Sunset as Art

 For as long as I can remember, time in the kitchen has been a special refuge for me.  Long before there was “art,” there was this space – a space that afforded me a sense of calm, a place to relax and create, a place to serve (in the most literal sense – ha!)  This trip amplified my love of KP duty to new level.  Meal times were times that saw us all come together – unified by a table full of good food and laughter.  Another favorite thing:  mealtimes!  Not only for the food (which was SPOT ON all week), but for the joy of interconnectedness that infused each coming together. 
Ready for the Dinner crowd!
...BBQ chicken for 12, with all the trimmings?  No problem!

After dinner lingering...

Speaking of “connections,” my soul thrilled to see this group morph into a cohesive “being” as we progressed through the week.  It sounds unreal to say that I witnessed the creation of a virtual family in the space of 5 days by the sea – but I DID!  We had the supreme joy of watching as strangers became friends who then became sisters.  They shared their stories and themselves – never hesitating to offer a hand (to both their fellow attendees as well as to their Hosts).  Amid the fully packed schedule, they found pockets of time to do their own thing and try new things together.  It was beautiful to behold!

Crossing the Dunes
...a morning of discovery at the Beach

Spontaneous Dancing
...what's NOT to love?

Memories in the making!
...a beautiful find on our trip to the beach

Evenings in the Parlor of EVERYBODY'S Favorite Things from May!

Finally *mayhap a tiny bit selfishly(?),* I experienced a true “first” – something that I long to experience again and again!  For the 1st time ever, I witnessed my work in a new way:  someone wearing both (a) a piece they made in a class with me, AND (b) a piece I made, that they liked enough to make their own!  It made my brain do a happy dance, indeed!

Both a Favorite Memory
and a personal first!

So much for brevity in my stream of recollecting (ha!)  Want to see even more incredible Memories of May?  Head over to the ReMe Blog for the 2nd portion of this weeks Hop!  Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to WIN my “Little Leather Booklace” – a fully functional book you can wear!  The drawing for this weeks giveaway will take place on Sunday evening (June 22nd), and will be announced next Monday!

Comment at the ReMe Blog
for your chance to make
this Little Leather Booklace your own!

There's more yet to see!
Visit the ReMe Blog for"the rest of the story!"
Onward & Upward!

Words of wisdom for today:

"When you wish someone joy,
you wish them peace,
love, prosperity, happiness...
all the good things
                                    - Maya Angelou

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

An Art-full Month Was May

Goodness, gracious!  Can you believe it is already JUNE!?  I can NOT!  It seems like only moments ago May was on the horizon, filled to bursting with all the creative wanderlust I had lovingly plotted on my calendar months and months ago.  It also seems like I was away almost as much as I was around for month of May.  I can hear my sweet Grandma, clear as bell, exclaiming "My stars!"

On the Road Again...

It was a grand month, indeed; loaded as it was with the most lovely continuation it what appears to be "The Year of Firsts!"  ...and it was as full of creative happiness as it was 1sts of all kinds!  *I marvel daily at the copious good fortune that laces my days together!*  As it seems that I am geographically removed from virtually all of my endeavors by various fractions of hours, May also included a fair amount of mileage -- what The Man and I refer to as "Windshield Time" (or WT).  In addition to the opportunity to enjoy a good audio book, I welcome WT for the respite it provides from the rush and scurry -- it is a most wonderful time to revel in the visual merriments of greenery & sky, constantly morphing clouds, and the inevitable folly of my fellow human beans as we traverse the byways heading hither and yon.

May began with a much anticipated trip to the most lovely Ocracoke, NC.  After what seemed endless preparation, the actual event was upon us; the resultant triumph of our collective efforts has Jean, Jodi, Theresa, and I still in awe of the wonderment that is ReMe Retreats!  We have hatched a fiendishly fine plot for extending the enjoyment of that magical time, and I have included more info on that a little further on...

Tools of the Trade
...for the traveling book binder
The merry month of May also marked the beginning of my return to Workshop Instruction at Jerry's Artarama in Raleigh for the year.  My offerings this year number FOUR (for complete details, visit the "Where to Find Me" tab, above)!  I really like the fact that our workshops are usually prefaced by a turn at the Try Me Table a week or two before class(es).  I thoroughly enjoyed my stint in Demo Mode prior to this months class.  I love meeting folks as they come into the store, curious about the "live arting" taking place.

My workshop this month was entitled "Long MAY you Wave."  We created kinetic color wheels using the Flag Book form.  It was great fun, and I had the pleasure of meeting new folks who share my love of books; additionally, I was able to enjoy a day with an existing friend who was excited to learn a new thing!  Bonuses abounded as we whiled away the day in an exploration of color, texture, and formation of a dynamic structure.  I do love the process of sharing/teaching!
I had the further good fortune to enjoy part of the weekend with dear friends (along with fantastic dinner and wine) and fellow instructors (for an afternoon of fellowship, food, and creative free play), which all combined to make a fitting end to a month of utter marvelousness!

Standing at the helm of this fresh new month, I am tickled to announce that a Re-Cap of the finest order is now underway!  I hope you will join me along with Jean, Jodi, and Theresa for our Memories of May Blog Hop, as we look back at the wonderments of our very first ReMe Retreat.  Every Monday in the month of June we will take turns sharing our favorite memories, photos, and stories from ReMe - Ocracoke, May '14.  The journey begins on our individual blogs, and continues at the ReMe blog; there we will share the experiences of our Students as they share their favorite memories, photos, and stories from the week.  If all of this doesn't have you looking forward to next Monday, there is more!  Each week will present you with the opportunity to win work from each of us in a prize drawing!  All of the details are available in this weeks post at the ReMe blog.

Join us for the Memories of May Blog Hop...every Monday in June!

I'll be back soon with more on all that June has in store.  Until then,

Onward & Upward,

Words of wisdom for today:

"When we give cheerfully
and accept gratefully,
everyone is blessed
                                    - Maya Angelou

Photo Notes:
    On the Road & Tools  - taken with my trusty Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS1
    Remainder - taken with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 
    ReMe Group Shot - by Deborah Belica