28 December 2007

A Very Vintage Vicki

This treasured photo is from my Family Album, Christmas 1965! At 10 years old I was attending 5th grade at Whitemarsh Elementary School in Pennsylvania and my best friend's name was Carrie Lukeman. (don't you just love the stretch pants?) Although I've strained to see what was under the tree that year... the memory of what I cherished most this time of year is crystal clear:

  • Having my mom's mother and step-father, Alice and Walter King (affectionally, "Gaga and Pop Pop"), spend the night with us on Christmas Eve
  • Singing along to our favorite christmas carols that dad compiled from his LP collection and taped on his Wollensak reel-to-reel. Here's a link to one of our favorites!
  • Putting out cookies & milk for santa and carrots for his reindeer.
  • Mom & Dad sleeping downstairs on the pull-out couch so they could take care of all the finishing touches before christmas morning! Assembling toys, putting up the HO train table with the plaster-of-paris tunnel & lighted village, stuffing stockings, nibbling on cookies & carrots and arranging gifts under the tree.
  • One of the grown-ups reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and the Christmas Story from the bible.
  • PRAYING for a white christmas.
  • Driving around with the family to look at christmas lights.
  • Picking out a cut-tree together a few blocks from home at Miles Park.
  • Dad & I fiddling with several strings of large, multi-colored lights, replacing bulbs and laughing together! Then hanging them on the bushes outside & inside on our tree.
  • The whole family decorating the tree together - pop-pop untangling the hooks and gaga telling us exactly where to place the satin balls, tinsel, plastic ornaments & treasured keepsakes.
  • My brother & I begging our grandparents to wake-up, then sitting at the top of the stairs on the hope chest, squirming impatiently, waiting for our parent's "OKAY!"
  • Finally, a very special memory - One christmas eve, the two of us took a ride in the old Ford Victoria with Dad in the midst of a blinding snowstorm. Our destimation was our humble Messiah Methodist Church which my parents helped to found. Dad wasn't about to let the storm deter him because we were on an important mission! He was in charge of setting up his tape recorder to play a continuous loop of special christmas music for the silent midnight prayer service. Having arrived before one of the parishoners could plow the steep driveway, we each carried a box filled with wires, speakers, and tapes then hiked together through the deepening snow drifts up to the church. Then, with the set-up complete and snow softly falling outside, I can remember the feeling of PEACE and AWE that welled up inside me as those cherished songs began to play! "Oh, holy night! The stars are brightly shining. This is the night of our dear Savior's birth!"

EDITED 12.31.07: When I mentioned this blog to my mom (84), she reminded me that she "baked a birthday cake for Jesus" when we were young. It was important to my parents that we celebrated the true meaning of Christmas in our home. I hope that plays a part in your celebrations as well! It's our ACTIONS that speak louder than words. xo

16 December 2007

a holiday wish

"oh the weather outside is frightful, and the fire is so delightful!"

I can't imagine a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon ~ than creating some new holiday memories INSIDE while it's snowing OUTSIDE, can you? Wherever you live, may the holiday spirit be shining brightly for you and for those that you hold dear.

Blessings from my heart to yours! XO

13 December 2007

Empress Theodora

WARNING!! Photo Shop is highly addictive and I have proof!! I burned the midnight oil on this and a few others (see my flickr site) and went to bed last night around 4 am!

I know the character name (see title) but do not know the actress. Any information is appreciated!!

Theodora was the wife of Justinian I who was crowned Emperor of the Byzantine Empire in 527 AD. As his wife, she ruled by his side, as his partner, and her intelligence helped to advance the Empire.

The exact place of her birth has not been agreed upon. While some historians say she was born on the island of Crete off the coast of Greece, others speculate that she might have been born in Syria. Whichever the case, she was brought up as the daughter of a bear trainer who worked at the Hippodrome (a huge stadium-like circus), in Constantinople. She worked there as a mime, and later as a full time actress. At the time, acting was not a highly esteemed occupation especially for women, so the term 'actress' was considered synonymous with the term 'prostitute'. While on stage she was remembered for her daring entertainment skills, off stage however, she lived a normal youthful life and was most remembered for her wild parties.

08 December 2007

Room in Your Heart

A Place To Bark - a no-kill foster and adoption rescue. It is also a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit, tax-exempt charitable organization so donations are tax deductible. All monies and items go directly to the care of the animals!

Bernie Berlin is an accomplished Mixed Media Artist who runs a full-time dog rescue, taking in dogs that have been abandoned, abused or police confiscated. She fosters, retrains, transports with the goal of ADOPTION! Cats are also welcome at her rescue. She is drawn to the unwanted, unloved and misunderstood. Bernie hopes to educate and effect change for the animals that do not have a voice of their own. Please visit this fabulous site! Or her secure link to PayPal with a detailed list of items needed.

** Every little bit helps! **

Another great option ~ donations can be made directly, to help with medical costs for "A Place to Bark!"

  • The Critter Clinic, 522 W. main Street, Gallatin, TN 37066 (615) 452-1477
  • Saukville Veterinary Clinic, 303 W. Dekora, Saukville, WI 53080 (262) 284-7000
  • any U.S. bank location. Just tell the teller that you would like to make a donation to "A Place to Bark, Inc." Checks or credit card donations are accepted.


Towels, blankets, toys, collars, leashes, crates, food, treats, very small baby bottles, milk replacement, bleach, 1 microscope, 1 baby scale, 1 stethoscope, muzzles, pet beds.


Bernie Berlin"A Place To Bark"PO BOX 649 Portland, TN 37148 615-681-2631

If you have questions, are considering adoption or interested in learning more: aplace2bark@aol.com

06 December 2007

more fun with PS!

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person."

This is the result of my second session of exploration and experimentation. My hope is that I can inspire anyone that might be sitting on the fence about committing to a purchase.

After some early frustrations... and about 12 hours of playtime, I'm getting the hang of the Elements 6.0 version WITHOUT further confusion of either the manual or a book! There is a WEALTH of information on the web such as free tutorials, free fonts, free brushes (wait until you see what you can do with THESE) as well as Adobe Photoshop online Support. So I say "go for it!" :p

And without question, it IS addicting - like any fabulous new toy!

03 December 2007

Maiden Voyage into PS!

DH surprised me the other day. While upgrading my PC, he had to make a Staples* run for a new scanner and came back with with Photoshop Elements 6.0. !!!

I decided to post it for those of you that have not yet explored the digital world of collage and photo/image editing. I spent 5 hours last night on my VERY first attempt and then lost it! Now I am careful to SAVE! After another 3-4 hours tonight, voila!

Here is my very first collage using custom brushes (chinese chop used for both borders & "shadow-like" bumble bee).

*Staples is an office supply store in the US & elsewhere

01 December 2007

What Can I Do To Help?

Read how HIV can be prevented HERE!

Social networks are a powerful and effective way to show your support for World AIDS Day and help raise awareness of HIV among your friends and acquaintances. Whether you have 5 or 500 friends in your network, your words can have an impact on others -- and make a difference in the fight to stop the spread of HIV.

Here are some ways to join us and get talking in social networks:

  • Join the World AIDS Day MySpace page or Facebook group

  • Add the virtual red ribbon to your profile

  • Blog about World AIDS Day and how HIV can be prevented

  • Start your own World AIDS Day group

  • Send a MySpace bulletin or write on your Facebook wall asking your friends to support our campaigns and share their thoughts and experiences

  • Change your Facebook status or your MySpace quote to read "Today I'm talking about World AIDS Day" on 1 December

For more info and where you can get your OWN red ribbon go to World Aids Day

28 November 2007

(My 1st) Skinny Book Swap!

Please drop by The Altered Abbey for LOTS more information on this fantastic swap. More players are still needed (due to drop-outs) so please follow the link and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Simply fill in the message form to contact the fabulous Chrysti Hydeck!

"You Are Enough"
-colors are not accurate in this scan due to the use of metallics-
see bottom photo

Simple "back" design, using similar technique to "inky layers" from Bernie Berlin's book.

Here they are spread out before shipping! And, since I signed up for a second book, there are 26 other pages still IN PROGRESS.

19 November 2007

Thanks and Giving Challenge

Amber, a friend from one of my Yahoo Groups, came up with this lovely idea and I have "tagged" myself to participate! I hope you will too! Click Here to see where it started.

To begin the week of Thanksgiving, here in the US, (international friends PLEASE FEEL FREE to participate) simply post a link to your blog with what you are THANKFUL for and something you'd like to GIVE!

I give thanks to all those who have extended the hand of friendship by supporting my art and sharing your OWN ART with the world so that we may all be inspired by you! I detailed this in my post below, titled "Art as Therapy."

I would like to share a few of my favorite images for the upcoming holiday season ~ ~ ~

16 November 2007

The Man Behind The Curtain

We began a MAJOR computer upgrade ~ today! Since my husband built my computer and is in the IT business, he is the "man behind the curtain" for the next couple of days. OUCH!

This is an optimum time as he is in the middle of a two week vacation. Just as he started to install my new operating system, we began to realize that this baby was on her last legs! Most importantly I was in the middle of backing up some very precious files when I started to get major "exception faults." First and foremost my HUGE ephemera collection was saved successfully. Now I have to worry about my photos and other documents. Wish me luck!

The main problem is compatibility at this point, since I was using Windows 98. So with any luck, the job should take a few days, a week at most.

Our goal is to get my email up first, then access to the internet. That will be followed by locating (purchasing?) and installing all of the rest of the drivers I'll need for my camer, printer, scanner, etc.


13 November 2007

New York, New York

Times Square, NY

Did You Know?

- Times Square was named for the Times Building which housed the former offices of the New York Times.

- In the early 1900's when the publisher, John Ochs moved the Times' newspaper operations, he persuaded mayor George B. MacClellan, Jr to construct a subway station there and the area was renamed "Times Square" on April 8, 1904. Just 3 weeks later, the first electrified advertisement appeared on the side of a bank at 46th Street & Broadway.

- The intersection of Broadway and 42nd Street, at the southeast corner of Times Square, is the Eastern Terminus of the Lincoln Highway, the first road across America.

SoHo, NY

This is VACATION time for us! Returned today from a trip to NYC having spent 13 hours in SoHo and Greenwich Village on Sunday and walked 30-40 blocks today on 7th Avenue (fashion avenue), Times Square, Broadway & the Theater District. We even got a preview of one of Macy's windows that are decorated for Christmas. Official unveiling: Nov. 18, 2007 @ 5:30PM

Sadly the stagehands weren't able to negotiate thier contract renewal prior to the deadline and just went on STRIKE! We hope they've gotten the attention of the decision-makers and can get it resolved in time for the millions of people travelling to see a broadway show for the holidays!!

I took a young friend to see Cirque du Soleil's "Wintuk" at Madison Square garden last tuesday. So we made it just in time before the strike! The best part of the show was when an avalanche of falling "snow" covered the entire audience at the end of the show! It was magical.

Next we head off to this 19th century victorian B&B for three days of Rest & Relaxation.

09 November 2007

Art As Therapy

Bennington, VT

Oh that glorious feeling that comes from creative expression ~ both in the giving and in the receiving!

It opens the heart, mind and soul to beautiful things and beautiful people then simply multiplies tenfold when we S.H.A.R.E.!

I want to give a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of my internet friends (and some strangers, too) for the utterly amazing talent you give to the WORLD. I am filled to overflowing today with your words, quotes, poems, stories, collage, photography, paintings, weavings, sculpture, assemblage... each and every form of creation from your soul to mine!

Thank you,
from the bottom of my heART!

15 October 2007

Skinny Alphabet Book - Outside Covers


Please feel free to join me on this GREAT challenge! There are about 25 of us who are making an Alphabet Skinny Book with keron leading the way! Just follow the link to her blog to read up on the first 4 weeks! So far she's done (3.5" x 7") pages for h, s, p & c! Some folks are doing a theme, with the hostess following a "My Fair Lady" theme!

Each week she'll post instructions, one letter at a time (no particular order) for 26 weeks. Keron will share ALL SORTS of ideas, tips & techniques to get your artistic juices flowing!


Mine is a different type of theme. The "thread" that runs through each page will be:

* lots of juicy colors
* my TOP favorite images (my grandmother at age 16)
* TONS of different embellishments (glass slides, vellum tags, vintage buttons, shipping tags, mesh, glitter, ribbon and I'm only on page 2!!!!!)

12 October 2007

My "heART ART"



The original painting was created by one of my favorite artists, Alphons Mucha (Czech 1860-1939). As you can see, it was my inspiration!

I use playing cards for the base of most of my artist trading cards. Look closely, through the layers of ink, and you can still see a "hint" of the Nine of Diamonds. It is one of hundreds of cards from my JUMBO playing card collection (of 10 decks) that I purchased for a few dollars at a garage sale in Vermont last fall. This supply should get me through the next decade!

I hope you will follow your inspirations today and put pen to paper and see what kind of magic happens! Set some time aside for your HEART to make ART. xo

03 October 2007

Recycle > Reuse > Rework

"please forgive me!"

The background on this sweet, little card started out as one that I didn't like AT ALL! Just some blue blobs of alcohol ink in a spotty fashion, with some of the original playing card showing through. Nothing spectacular, I assure you! I have a small collection of these cards and, rather than start with a blank canvas (or throw anything useful, away) I decided to "rework" this one and I must say, I am happy with the result!

Simply dab 1 dark and 1 light shade of acrylic paint onto the surface. I used vivid blue and bright yellow plus I always speed up the drying time by keeping my heat gun nearby! Next dab a dark shade (I used black) of distress ink or paint onto a section of bubble wrap (or anything textural) and play! Tip: less is more

Using a direct-to-paper method, I covered the entire card using my clear pigment ink pad and heat set the clear embossing powder. I repeat this step 2-3 times and get a smooth, glass-like effect.

Why not try it today? I think you're really going to like the look and feel of it!

30 September 2007

Protect Her

Angel Falls, Venezuela

The world's highest waterfall, as seen on the 'Fresh Water' episode of Planet Earth.

Our beautiful planet is so fragile -

WE MUST HANDLE WITH CARE! ... here's a way that you can raise your voice along with other artists

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Thank you, Neda for the inspiration to join hands, hearts, pens and paintbrushes and


to support environmental awareness - please take a moment, follow her link & find out how!

Humpback Whales, Tongo, South Pacific

Underwater camerman, Doug Allan filming as seen on Planet Earth.

24 September 2007

Listen with your heart

"Never Too Late"

For where your treasure is,

there will your heart be also.

~ Luke 12:34

Have you shared a similar experience? Several years ago I began to notice an odd pattern. Digital clocks would often be at 12:34 when I glanced to check the time!

About two years ago, the subject came up with a few of my close friends. We were sharing odd or unique experiences and I mentioned my "relationship" with 12:34. Immediately, those instances began to increase. Normally I would consider it to be what I call "selective perception" however, I have a favorite aunt (90 years young) who firmly believes "There are NO COINCIDENCES!"

Anxious to understand more, I turned to a dear friend to see what she thought of all this! Her pearl of wisdom: lets look up the chapter and verse in the Bible. The one I wrote above is the line I selected WITHOUT A SECOND THOUGHT. It has held a special meaning for me, ever since.....

and I'm listening to my heart!

23 September 2007

Art Journaling

I just found these AMAZing tutorials on art journaling from a link on art junk girl's blog! Thanks, Lia! The artist is suzi blu, a "mixed media artist who documents her life through vlogs on youtube and sells artwork on eBay."

After spending an hour perusing Lia's lovely blogs and catching up with what SHE'S been up to, it all turned out to be the perfect inspiration/information I needed to get my "art on" today!

P.S. Thanks to Inspire me Thursday for starting this whole thread!! Their JOURNAL Challenge is one of several weekly challenges. Others are REFLECT ~ CONNECT ~ EXPLORE ~ CREATE! Go and check out this inspiring site!

18 September 2007

Distress Technique


A comment was made on my flickr site (link is to the right) that this looked as if I'd used a wax technique! Actually, I have YET to use the beeswax purchased a year ago. Here's how I achieved that effect.

Technique Described:

Begin with your favorite ATC "blank." I typically use an old playing card measuring 3.5" x 2.5." Careful since all cards do not have the same dimensions.
- add a layer of white gesso, dried
- orange distress ink, direct-to-paper
- using one of the many lovely intage images from art-e-zine I made a gel medium transfer. I decided to use the POSITIVE since the negative didn't leave enough of an image to be recognizable. Cut out and attached to the card with gel medium.
- turquoise acrylic ink applied with my fingertip
- layered some distressed-looking numbers
- added a halo by painting gesso on the bottom of a bottle of glue and stamping it
- finished with my favorite final effect, GLAZE!

Now go and be creative!

09 September 2007

Ponder This!

"A word is not a crystal,

transparent and unchanged;

it is the skin of a living thought

and may vary greatly

in color and content

according to the circumstances

and time in which it is used"

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. ~

04 September 2007

Fading Fast

There it is, in your rear-view mirror.. going, going, GONE! Summer has officially ended in the states, now that Labor Day Weekend is over.

"Beauty and the Beach"

Our family has been spending the summer at the south jersey shore since my grandmother was a little girl in 1890's. My brother & I are the fourth generation from Philadelphia that only had a 90-minute drive to the resort towns on this part of the Atlantic Ocean!

His two sons, born in Connecticut (where I have lived for 30+ years) have returned EVERY SINGLE summer for the past 23 years! AND, I'm excited to tell you I will be going back with my mom for one week beginning September 10th to take another walk down memory lane! As they used to say, we're looking forward to "having sand in our shoes!"

By the Sea - 101 years old!

This lovely young lady on the diving board, has a bathing suit that is trimmed in dark brown German Glass Glitter! The card reads, "Who's Afraid?"

"Horseplay" is postmarked Jul 20 1906 Ocean City, N.J. and is addressed in my grandfather's boyhood handwriting to his mother "Mrs J.E.Farquhar, 161 S.Burlington Street, Gloucester City, N.J."

Both are part of a much larger postcard collection that once belonged to my father's father.

21 August 2007

The Ballet Russes

ballet russes

This almost has a Cirque du Soleil feel to it! Doesn't it look as if the dancer is dropping balls over his shoulder and then tossing them into the air with his foot??

Follow this link to learn more about The Ballet Russes.

Using scrapbook papers for an artist card background is not typical for me. I usually use old text, acrylic paint (using techniques such as crackle medium, sanding/distressing), or alcohol ink. I must say I prefer the free feeling that the "creation process" gives me as opposed to using a piece of patterned paper! To each his own!

What is YOUR favorite background technique?

15 August 2007

latest creations

" goddess of light"

"the little match girl"

Both ATCs were made using the same technique. I took an image from my Ephemera CD collection that was printed on a laser jet printer. Next I selected the paper I wanted to use (watrecolor paper, cardstock, patterned paper) then covered the image with a thin layer of matte gel medium. I then flipped it face DOWN onto my background of choice, brayered it then went over it with my bone folder. Voila!

09 August 2007

Fairy Dust

This is an ATC I made last week for a "Fairies, Fairies" swap on swap-bot.com. It is special because the background was a pretty little piece of paper that I received in a private trade ~ five months ago! I'm so glad I came across it again. (thank you Joyce!)

Since I posted this scan on my flickr account it's gotten a few requests to trade (sorry!), a couple of comments and 4 people marked it as a favorite! There's even a "Fairy Zine Award of Excellence!" So I thought you might like to take a look.

Maybe today is a good day to go through your paper collection and make a background from something a FRIEND sent you!

26 July 2007

Mosaic Patterned Alcohol Ink - Technique Explained

"Count Your Blessings"

This altered playing card is from my early experiments with alcohol inks (dec '06). It was edged with a gold krylon pen, embellished with a slide mount, printed image, blue swarovki crystals & transparency word/numbers. Even after I purchased the "proper" wooden applicator with velcro and changeable felt, I STILL prefer my early substitution for its added DIMENSION. These are the products I use:

Clearsnap's Colorbox "stylus starter set"

To get the beautiful MOSAIC patterns, attach one of the black moldable foam tips, heat carefully under a halogen light bulb, then press onto a

Clearsnap's "Molding Mat"

- or into any hard rubber stamp or "texture" - and there you have it!

Place 1-3 drops of two different colors, onto your molded foam and build up several layers onto a glossy surface to get the above effect! No two cards will ever be alike, that's the beauty of this medium!

HELPFUL TIP: When you order alcohol inks ($3.45 ea or $9.99 set of 3), be sure to purchase the Alcohol Blending Solution - dilutes and lightens these thick, rich colors ($4.99). The Gold/Silver Metallic Mixatives ($9.99 set of 2) are great but krylon pens work as well, tho' a little differently, so you can live without them. Here is one of many websites you can order from.

Be creative & come up with your very own technique... and have fun!

24 July 2007

You're only here for a short visit.

Stop to smell the flowers along the way. - Walter Hagan

400' rows!!

Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are. - Alfred Austin

coneflowers or echinacea

Bloom where you're planted. - Mary Englebreit

field of dreams

I should like to enjoy this summer flower by flower, as if it were to be the last one for me. - Andre Gide

big red

Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

23 July 2007

Rose-Colored Glasses, That's Me!

You scored as Romanticist,Romanticism encourages society to look backwards to find our solutions. Your rationale is that things were much better a few hundred years ago so we should thus look back to those times and replace them in our modern society. You believe in a simple life and that the complexities of the modern world have turned it upside down.

What is Your World View?
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