Putting seeds in the soil

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A confession. I love putting my hands in dirt.  No gloves.  Just earth and soil in my fingers as I plant seeds.  And planting barefoot makes me even happier. And I have been doing lots of planting. And not just flowers and vegetables. This past week,  I put my beloved green bean seeds into my raised garden boxes. Magically, just a few days later, they were peeking out of the soil and growing towards the sun. Towards me. At the end of last summer, I wrote about my love of green beans and how I search each day among the green leaves for the green beans.  I love this game. This year, I doubled the fun and also planted peas. These pea pods make me smile.  Everyday I go out and look for them and eat them right off the Continue Reading »

My five pound role model

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It is Tuesday. I can think of so many things I need to do.  Should do. But I can't help but be inspired by Willy, my daughter's five-pound chihuahua. Willy is an opportunist. And a well rested one. I love that about him.  I see the pair of slippers I just took off. Willy sees a nap.  And a very warm bed. If I was more like Willy, I would not wash clothes. Instead I would curl up in them. And Willy loves it when I don't make the bed.  The uneven corners hanging down make the best nest.  He finds the tiniest corner and uses all of it, like Goldilocks.  He looks for and finds "just right". This is me and Willy at the start of most days. This is me and Willy right now. Me, checking in on my computer. Continue Reading »

Girls Rising

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How sweet are these little feet? They all walked into my studio recently to see my space and my art and hear what I had to say about it all.  Ten girls in a second grade Brownie Troop. We talked about inspiration. It is a full time job I explained.   It all comes from deep inside and I have to work on it all the time. Dig in. Pull it out. I hang little bits and pieces so enticingly in my studio so that I will want to pick them up and play.  And also so I know where they are. I am so grateful for clothespins and string. We talked about ideas.  And protecting them with copyrights.  And also being aware of other people's work.  And making sure we give them credit for their ideas. That lovely thin line where we are Continue Reading »

Fearless Friday

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This past week, someone asked me to reflect on what exquisite self care feels like. Because that is what they wished for me. And I have been thinking about this question all week. At first, I felt defensive, so I have to look a bit closer. A nerve has been exposed. And here is why. While I may be building a nest in my backyard (my last post), I have not been building one in my studio. I rush.  I try to do everything.  Be everything.  I over schedule myself.  I do not allow myself space to be early.  Or space to be late.  I am often "on" when I really need to be "off".  Off the computer.  Off my iPhone. I multi-task.  I eat lunch as I work.  Pick up a fork...then pick up a paintbrush. When I am home, a little voice says Continue Reading »

planting hope

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Okay, spring, no questions asked.   I have no idea where you have been  or who you have been hanging out with. You are here now.  That is what counts. And I am so grateful and happy to see you. Come on in. Now that you are here, I have lots of colorful, hopeful work to do and gardens to plant. I am getting ready to install my recycled window box flowers on a vacant building in Trenton, NJ as part of a grant I received from the I Am Trenton Foundation. Here is my vision photoshopped on a gorgeous Brooklyn brownstone. And below is one of the locations I am considering doing my installation on. It is across from a school with a beautiful new playground.  And this is what the children see when they look across the Continue Reading »

art journaling

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I love what happens when we let the art in. When we just sit down beside some paint, paper and crayons and stop thinking so hard. Our life is divine and messy. It looks so good outlined in watercolor pencils. I have been teaching a course at a local art center that honors our own unique journey on the pages of an altered book. We have been painting, tearing, sewing, mixing, cutting and pasting on these pages. And on a few days, Devon John, a gifted photographer, came in and witnessed us putting pieces of ourselves on the pages And took lots of pictures as the unraveling began. I love teaching this process. Trust. Get the first layers down.  Do not over think it.  Play. This is just the first of many Continue Reading »

a very warm exchange

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It has poured today.  Buckets full of rain. Lately one day is balmy while the next day is high winds and snow. And as much as I would love to be planting pansies and let my toes be free in flip flops, today is not that day. I am all snuggled up in this handmade coat as I head for my studio.  This is how I wear it; inside out. All the detail and colors keep me warm on the inside and peek out at the cuffs and collar.  I wear most of my clothes inside out due to painting and my love of big messes. This coat used to be an old bedspread. A close friend of mine, Deb Allen (so much talent here), saw it at a flea market.  I had asked her to please make me a grown up coat. She had been making these amazing little girl coats I Continue Reading »

sparkle and shine

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Yesterday, I received a card from a faraway friend. Kelli Jean May-Krenz lives in Minnesota, and is an amazing graphic designer with her own studio, 730 Thursday, which is the exact time and day she met her soulmate five years ago.  She uses found objects in her design work.  And she simply shines everyday. So brightly. I sewed the envelope and her perfectly written "hello friend" into an altered book I am working on. I then posted the above photo on my facebook page to tell Kelli how much I loved her card. She had written the sweetest words to me. I have her card taped wide open on my studio wall so I can read it often.  Maybe daily. Kelli responded to my facebook post and asked "Are you digging your sparkle?" I Continue Reading »

studio in winter

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This is what winter looks like at my studio. Quiet. Sometimes white.  Stark. I walk through my side door painted in Lucky Orange and take off my mittens and lay them on the heater. I often sit beside them to warm up. Once in a while I bring a friend along. This winter, I have been focused on wholesaling and designing new recycled words cut from salvaged plastic.  These words are everywhere in my creative space. They sit calmly on the counter beside reused jars filled with paint and poly. Bliss.  It is all right before me.  Sometimes I do not see it clearly enough as I move through my "must do" list, focusing on what I have left undone, instead of seeing all I have accomplished. Tiny sigh. I am working Continue Reading »

some packaging help from Mary

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I make art from reclaimed materials.  Everyday. This common thread is in all of my artwork; reverse glass paintings, hand-scripted words cut out of scrap plastics, flower gardens and clocks (new!) created from salvaged signage, altered books... Colors and ideas flow effortlessly out of me. But packaging stopped me cold.  It has to be recycled.  Nothing new and shiny allowed. And reused boxes are worn.  And show it.  But I love them anyway. I want upcycled but it must be hopeful and pretty. Then I found Mary Ann.   She is the Mary in Magpie Mary on Etsy and she is my kind of girl. Little tiny birds, stamps, tags and hearts all cut from the pages of old books and found papers. And she packages them up so sweetly in between Continue Reading »