Oh, so much to show

At the end of July we took our vacation to Frankfort Michigan. People always gather on the beach at sunset for the view. This was the best night that we made it to the show. It was good, but at times has been more spectacular.
The sun going through the clouds.

Then dropping behind the last clouds that were very low and touching the water, not to be seen for the rest of the night.
One of my favorite art galleries is the Laughing Fish Gallery in Suttons Bay, Michigan. An hour from Frankfort to the east. So much handmade goodness to look at. It’s a mother and daughter run shop, and Shelly is the mother. She was in the shop that day and was working on the fish. She cuts them out with a band saw and then paints them. I think they are wonderfully unique. I had gotten the bottom one last year, her name is Agnes and then I purchased the top three. The top one is Sheldon then Jelly Bean and Bubbles.
They are so fun! I have them above the doorway going into the kitchen and dining area.
I had to buy new succulents and replant them. I had gotten new potting soil the first time but it had gnats in it or the little buggers were attracted to the soil, I am not sure. Oh, they were just so annoying. I tried to get rid of the insects and killed the plants instead. I found some Miracle Grow soil for indoor plants that is not supposed to draw the bugs. So far so good. These are two new ones.
The one on the right is new and I love the way it looks. The left one lived through my dilemma.
All three of these are new and doing wonderfully!
These two were leftovers and that cactus is just going every which way.
While on vacation we stopped at Gwen Frostic again. I was looking for something that I had picked up last year but they didn’t stock it anymore. I picked up instead these postcards with 15 of her images. I thought they were too small to just send in the mail so I had cut some pretty papers as backings and adhered them onto cards.
I used the far right one to send to a friend and just thought it turned out quite pretty. I am always a fan of her raccoon. Last year I picked up a mug with the image on it and also a pin.
Yesterday I received a new supply of Bath and Body Works. Sophie decided to take over the box and make biscuits in it. Just the right size for her. Cats cannot resist a box on the floor.
I also ordered a new supply of goats milk soap. Oh my goodness, it is so so so creamy. I first tried half bars to see if I liked the fragrances which are very nice and delicate. This order I purchased full bars and she also sends a thank you gift. This one is Goat Milk Facial Scrub and I enjoyed using it. They are a small business located in Indiana and here is their website. It is called the Simple Goodness Soap Company.
I have to share this beautiful, handmade candle rug. My friend Cathy who lives in Arizona made it and sent it and I was delighted. I can’t display it on a table because I will find a cat sitting in the middle of it. I may frame it and hang it. I love it so with the little stiches and small cut out pieces.
Lastly here are two paintings I just got completed and sent off to their owner. This is “Chelsie in the Kitchen”. Size 6 X 6
“Among the Flowers”. Their little 17 yo Yorkie passed away recently and they asked for some paintings that would include her. Size 8 X 8 They were very pleased.

So this next week on Wednesday August 24th I am scheduled for a back surgery. It has been a year full of surgeries and physical therapy. I do hope this is the last for a long while. It definitely is needed and will be a process in recovery. In the lower three lumbar discs I don’t have any cartilage, it disappeared, and the spine is compressing the nerves that go down my legs to my feet. The doctor is going to put three cages in between the discs to straighten me up because I don’t stand up totally straight and will get it up off the nerves, that will be very welcome. Spine surgeries are scary but the people who have had this done have said they were glad and were so much better. My life has been put on hold for the year and I am ready to get back to doing the things I like to do easily. So if you happen to think of me on Wednesday send some good thoughts my way. ❤❤ You will hear from me again to let you know how it went.

Sharing my smiles

Sharing the progress of this commissioned piece, it is getting closer but I still want to add more.
My three guys when we were celebrating Thanksgiving and Sam’s birthday (middle). I love this picture.
When the weather started to get cooler I brought in the succulents and a few herbs. It is on a rolling tray table and near a window with the morning sun. The Christmas cactus is now blooming.
Found some afternoon sun for them, I think they were smiling.
On Thanksgiving Tom and I went to Ford Field in Detroit for the football game. You cannot have a Thanksgiving game without turkey hats, some with lights and some just bare.
Kitty paw track for reference. It is perfect.
I love these Christmas Lights looking into the room from the foyer. Simple yet lively. Makes me smile.
A work in progress influenced by the tree swallows that made a nest in our porch this summer. They were amazing to watch grow and having Mom and Dad work so hard to feed them. It was a joy to watch.

Try Smiling

When the weather suits you not, Try smiling.

When your coffee isn’t hot, Try smiling.

When your neighbors don’t do right,

Or you relatives all fight,

Sure ‘tits hard, but then you might

Try smiling. -Unknown

A little gardening

The herbs and catgrass are looking healthy. I have sweet basil, flat leaf parsley and mint. I am still looking for a healthy catnip and chives.
Every year these come up and I just love them all over again.
Really, who doesn’t love bleeding hearts?
The pots got planted on the front porch and they sit proudly on the antique bench.
Getting the succulents going again. Winter and digging cats took the toll on them. I keep looking for some string of pearls also.
These are going to the cemetery soon.
A different angle of the front porch.
These are going to smell fabulous!!
I was at a nursery that just sold native plants and I picked up a blue false indigo.
That will be beautiful.
A Royal Catchfly.
This will be stunning. I hope you have yours planted.

Green Growing


I have been enjoying the coming to life of spring. Here I repotted a couple of succulents from the yellow container to the terra cotta pot. Then I decided to plant cat grass. It will be a perfect height for the cats to chew on.


Pretty little primrose something or others. I used to have many lining my sidewalk but they didn’t last or they got dug up by something. I may have 5 or 6 plants left.


Cat mint, this really spreads and I have to cut it back throughout the growing season. My cats love to eat the leaves. It develops tall purple flowers.


More Johnny Jump Ups blooming. I have read that these are edible and can be put in salads.


Cat nip, I got two good plants of these. These are really the delicacy for my furry friends. They are so funny with these. I love having things growing, it’s a happy spot. Hope you have a happy spot at your house also.

More than peas in a peapod


The other night Tom came home with this little package from our friend Darwin who is an agricultural specialist. He must have picked this up at a farm show where Brodbeck Seeds were doing a little marketing. I thought this was quite cute!


Here the hidden product was a T-shirt still retaining the shape of the pea pod.


Unfolded now and the both of us grabbed each end and pulled. This is supposed to be an extra large. Darwin said it’s kinda hard to get the wrinkles out and I do believe him. We will see what a washing can do to it.


I picked up two new succulents at IKEA a couple of weeks ago. Eventually I will plant them but I am still just learned how to take care of these kinds of plants. I was given a lovely container a couple of months ago and didn’t do a good job at all. So I am trying again and educated myself a bit more by going to the site succulents and sunshine. The name and the cuteness of the site won me over. She looked like someone I would like. That’s what it’s all about!


Shelves #2 and #3 were put up this weekend. I am sure I can figure this out but I let Tom do it because of the holes that get drilled into the wall. If something happens I don’t want that on my shoulders! I have learned a few things in 35 years of marriage! He looks at my bag of shelves and says with a raised eyebrow “you have a lot of shelves in there”…. yep…he will just have to go with it. There was a little grumbling…but all in fun.


I started a new mixed media painting of a beachy, Cape Hatteras lighthouse scene. It is on a 24 X 24 canvas. I first started with a coat of gesso to give it tooth, so everything will stick to it. Now the canvas I use has a coat already on it and it would be fine but I do it more for me. You have a blank canvas and by putting something that drys clear it helps getting over the trepidation of starting a blank canvas.I then put a wash of blue that will have some runs and spots that are darker over the whole board. I then drew lightly where I was going to place my scene. In 1999 they moved this lighthouse because the ocean was getting too close to it. It is not at the waters edge, it is really in the middle of a forest now. I wanted it to be the prominent focal point and to stand boldly and tall in the painting. I wanted to get the subject out of the way first. I drew it in, got the stripes positioned the way I felt they were correct. I then decided to paper piece the lighthouse in. I have heavy, outdated wallpaper books. I used tracing paper to get each stripe right and so they would piece together exactly. I didn’t need to trace the bottom, I was able to just cut pieces of wallpaper for that area. I painted the top, or the lantern part with black acrylic paint. The other elements that will be on this painting is the ocean, the beach, sand dunes with sea grass, trees shore birds and a sea turtle. I will not only be using acrylic paint but fiber and molding paste, ink and torn paper to name a few.


Saved the rest of my wash to be used at a later time. Little jars work great. Please check back for updates on the cape or you can sign up with your email to automatically get the blog post in your mail box. The sign up box is on the first page of the website.


See that says October of 2014? That’s when I signed up for this course. I had not been able to get to it and it will all disappear in October of 2015. I have downloaded all the lessons so I can do them at my leisure and I started the first one this week. The very first lesson I did a very long time ago which was to make this note book. All it is is one of the composition books that has the hard back. It has gesso and ink brayered onto it and then stamps pressed into it. I used washi tape and liquid pearls and printed off the picture of the class for the front. It was fun to make and I even made a few for my friends.


I started taking notes on the first video and also just showing that it is just one of the school composition books.


Now the reason I decided to sign up for this course was because I needed major help on drawing faces and I wanted to get better. The first artist was Jane Davenport and the title of the lesson was the nymph. In this lesson she was using the work of John William Waterhouse which focused primarily on beautiful women. So I chose my picture and just started in drawing it. Now in my defense on the top one I was using a china pencil, which you can’t erase and I was just trying to get shapes from the face first. BTW a china pencil is one that marks tires to see if the car has moved. They write on everything. The top picture looks like a mean, mad, old woman. I just used a #2 pencil on the bottom lady and it’s better but it still doesn’t look like my chosen picture.


The next thing we were to do was take some gesso and acrylic paint and spread it on a journal page. She had a really neat antique book that she wanted to draw in but I had none of those available and just put it in my sketchbook, and it is to dry completely. We used colored pencils for this area and drawing on the substance it really grabs hold of the colored pencil and felt good. Also generally colored pencil cannot be erased but on this substance it can. My top lady has kind of a Richard Nixon nose and my bottom lady has a Gaston chin of Beauty and the Beast. I am going to watch her video again and try a third face on here. The old adage….back to the drawing board!


Here is my lovely lady that I chose and you can also tell why I want to work on my faces. Practice, Practice, Practice! The one problem I see that I need to do is tilt her head forward a bit.  The title of this picture is “Destiny” and I found an interesting site called Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood that gave description about this picture. Thanks for stopping by!




Flights were coming in and out of the catmint area yesterday faster than I could focus the camera. I cropped 3 that we can see pretty well.

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This one is ruby throated. I could just sit and watch them all day!

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Can see the wings really well on this one.


I have been working happily along sewing the leaves onto the tree. It is filling out.


I received this succulent from my niece Wendy this weekend. I was just tickled to get it, had been considering picking some up. I love the tea can she planted it in and it fits perfectly on my windowsill.


sketching out some wildflowers for small watercolors. Mr. Jack-in-the-pulpit.


Pretty white trillium that should be blooming now in the forests. Going through pictures from this biology class has been a real treat. Thanks for stopping.