Monday, April 28, 2008

two little ducklings

these 2 little mallard ducklings were tottling around at the end of our driveway as bill was leaving for work the other morning. it was 6:15 am and still dark. they were all alone and very little. we could hear and see their parents and siblings across the street frantically running around in circles. these 2 must have lagged behind and gotten lost. i snapped a couple of quick photos and then went inside. a bit later they were all gone, i'm assuming off to the pond behind our neighborhood. last year a mother mallard nested in our east flower bed. we've had at least 3 duck couples hanging out in our immediate neighborhood this year but i've not been able to tell where they were nesting. anyway, it is fun to have a bit of nature roosting near our suburban home. glad it was a happy ending for the little ducklings!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

pussy willow vase

this is the commission i just completed to coordinate with the "blue flowers serenade" 14 x 14 original mentioned in my blog below. this one is 12" x 24" and hopefully pammie will love it. i was very pleased with the way it turned out. i love the blue and brown combination so much and will be doing some additional pieces in this style soon.

i am enjoying a bit of peace and quiet after having my granddaughter jenna for the weekend. we have so much fun together and she is such a whirlwind of energy. at 3 she is very interested in everything in my art room. her favorite thing is my box of oil pastels. today she discovered my box of pastel chalks which were quite messy but she thought they were grand.

jenna's parents, my son matt, amaris and layla came for lunch which was fun. everyone wanted to play on my new mac, check out all the latest canvasses and put in bids for what art they want me to create for them. it looks like my "unemployment" period will be very busy. and that is exactly how i want it. i sent matt home with my "crane in cattails" canvas as he really wanted it and i did not want to sell it and then have to create a similar one for matt.

only three more days of getting up and going to my current job. big sigh!

Friday, April 25, 2008


ok, is it just me or does everyone have trouble with those word verifications when you leave a comment on a post? i feel like i'm dyslexic when i have to type those dreaded letters. i turn my head to the side and squint my eyes up and practically touch my nose to the screen to figure them out. i understand the concept of making it difficult to slow us down in order to prevent spam but hey! does it have to make me feel like a complete idiot? anyway, please tell me, is it just me? be honest. it's ok. i'm a big girl and i can handle the humiliation of being the only word verification challenged gal on the internet. i just need to know.

what a wonderful world!!!

today i was thrilled to find out that sydnie, one of my fellow etsy members, has posted a mention about my original canvas "tipsy tea cups 2" on her blog, SimplySentimental, which features great etsy shops on a daily basis. it's a wonderful browse through some great items with a different fun theme every day. sydnie is a paper artist who creates wonderful greeting cards and paper peicings -- available in her etsy shop. please check it out!

thought for the day:

i see skies of blue
clouds of white
bright blessed days
dark sacred nights
and i think to myself
what a wonderful world

i truly am blessed!! have a wonderful day, everyone!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

gorgeous jewelry

one of the true joys of being a member of etsy is getting to meet wonderful artists and creative souls from around the world. i've had that pleasure with xueoriginals who lives in tokyo. her business card holders and jewelry designs are just lovely and her blog is a delightful and colorful journey to the other side of the world. she has been very helpful to this newcomer to the world of etsy and blogging. thanks for everything, xue! as you can see, i've started to master the linking process. have a great vacation. i'm looking forward to seeing photos on your blog when you return!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

something in the air!!

these red tulips are in full bloom in the front of my house. they were bouncing a joyous little dance in the wind as i snapped this photo.

what an exciting week this is turning out to be!! on monday i sold a small original canvas on etsy. yesterday i received a commission for an 18" x 24" original that will be sent to bermuda to hang in the home of a co-worker's friend. my co-worker and i also discussed two additional commissions she is interested in purchasing. today i sold the "blue flowers serenade" original pictured in my 4/19/08 blog below to my dear, dear friend pammie. plus pammie ordered an original to coordinate with "blue flowers serenade". my friend, laura, has asked me to create a custom journal for her sister; it will feature some of her mother's hand-written recipes.

today i finished the invitations to my artist reception to be held at the art in motion gallery in kettering on may 11th. and, i'm pulling together everything i need to do to get ready to teach 4 mixed media collage classes at the gallery during the month of may!!

so, in addition to the beautiful spring weather there is a feeling of newness and possibility in the air! i feel mostly excitement as my job ends and i start this next chapter in my life. there is sadness and a longing for it to last just a little longer so we don't have to all say goodbye. but i do believe that when one door closes another opens. the new door opening for me is going to blow a huge blast of wonderful creative fresh air that will carry me to unexplored places of wonder. and i'm ready for it!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

blog mention!!!

i was very excited yesterday when i found out that i had been mentioned in someone's blog. it is a very cool animal lovers' blog that features neat pet products. please check it out!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

make mine caffeine!!

i'm learning that i have to take all things in moderation at this stage of my life. i used to be quite a sun goddess but now diligently wear sunscreen and limit my exposure. staying up to 3 am 2 to 3 times a week to craft or read has been cut back to friday or saturday night only. eating spicy foods every day has now become an occasional indulgence. but my biggest cut back has been in my consumption of caffeine. all the years that i was a single mother working 2 jobs and trying to be super mom, i practically lived on iced tea -- full brew, full jolt, by the gallon! too much caffeine now makes me anxious and not all pleasurable to be around. plus, i simply can't sleep after 2 to 3 glasses of the stuff and then am in a hazy funk for the next 2 days. so, i try really hard to stay off the caffeinated variety or drink water instead. it's a drag but i just keep reminding myself . . . moderation, moderation, moderation!

the photo above is of my original mixed media canvas called "make mine caffeine!". it is 30" x 40" x 1 1/2" gallery wrapped canvas -- all torn paper collage, no paint. it is the very first large format canvas i created. it is for sale. please let me know your interest.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

blue flowers serenade
a gentle lullaby
as alabaster doves
coo evening's softest sigh

sun's golden slanting rays
cast earth an angel's kiss
heaven's in the garden
summer's sweetest bliss

"blue flowers serenade"
julie king original art
mixed media on
14" x 14" x 1/12"
gallery-wrapped canvas

Friday, April 18, 2008

grandma's house

to jenna and layla,

can you come to grandma's house
to spend the day and night?
we'll pitch a tent in the living room.
you'll play to your heart's delight.

can you come to grandma's house?
presley's waiting at the door.
he'll do that special trick for you
the good jumping you adore!

can you come to grandma's house?
we'll do a craft together.
maybe a pretty paper collage
or a chart to show the weather.

can you come to grandma's house?
the teddy bear is lonely.
he whispered in my ear today,
i'll play with jenna and layla only.

can you come to grandma's house?
ask mommy, "can i come?"
i'm hoping that you'll both be here soon.
we'll sure to have some fun!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

fly free, sing

what a cheerful, sunny, beautiful spring day here in ohio! i was up late in the night collaging and had hoped to sleep in a bit this morning before going to work. my dog, presley, had other thoughts though. he woke me up at 6:15 so he could go out and do his sniff the ground and trot around the back yard routine. while he was out the sun was peeking up in the east and casting a gorgeous glow. for me, life is grand when it is sunny and pretty with bird song in the air.

this original mixed media canvas is titled "fly free, sing" and it is one of my favorites. it is for sale in my etsy boutique:

here's hoping there's a song in your heart today!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

moral compass

what happens when life throws you so many curves that you feel like your moral compass has been thrown out of sync? even though you try to remain steadfast to your beliefs and ethical core, all around you the world is revolving on a questionable moral axis. does silence equal complicity? does one wrong justify a multitude of injustices? will you continue on this path if you no longer like the image facing you in the mirror each morning? will you participate or make a stand and walk away from what you truly know is wrong?

i have no answers, only questions that weigh heavy on my heart. i'm at a crossroads in my life with choices to make. let me steady my moral compass, find my true north and forge a new exciting path in my life.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

that's what friends are for

it is my pleasure to announce that my friend and co-worker, shannon seebach, has opened his own design firm -- seebach creative services. in all my years in the print and advertising business, i really can't think of a co-worker i've admired more than shannon. his strong work ethic, pursuit of excellence, and willingness to always go the extra mile have him standing head and shoulders above the crowd. his experience encompasses graphic design and production of educational and collateral materials, web, product and packaging. not only is he industrious and creative, he is pleasant to work with and a true professional. please check out his website and pass the link along to others in need of outstanding design services. thanks!

Monday, April 14, 2008

fleeting memories

fleeting memories
life's sunsets
oh, sweet nostalgia

this is the little bit of copy on my latest original art titled "fleeting memories". it is a 14" x 14" x 1 1/2" gallery-wrapped canvas. one of my favorite things to collage is sunsets. i love picking out all the different papers, tearing them into interesting shapes and then applying them to the canvas to create an abstract picture. in the end the collage has a cool mosaic tile effect that i think is quite unique. when i look at this art i can't help but think of all the fleeting memories in my life. these memories are stored away in some dusty corner of my mind and all it takes is a certain smell, a word or a sound to bring the memory leaping forward into my consciousness. and then i think, "i'd forgotten all about that." then there is that deja vu feeling that occasionally will just wash over me where i could just swear that i've been in that exact moment in time sometime in the past. it's a fleeting memory tumbling down to be experienced all over again. oh, sweet nostalgia!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

hunting and gathering

i love to incorporate little bits and pieces of ephemera in my collages. in the mixed media piece to the left, i used pieces torn from old cookbooks, a vintage music book, a 1943 edition of wuthering heights, a 1907 copy of french short stories and many different scrapbook papers. nothing would make me happier than to spend a sunny saturday afternoon at a flea market hunting and gathering a bigger supply of ephemera. of course, i love books (see "love affair" post below) so my obsession to collect old books is a double desire to increase my book collection and increase my supply of things to collage. i remember reading somewhere once that the reason we humans feel the need to collect things is because generations ago inhabitants on this continent were hunter/gatherers in order to survive. today we don't need to hunt or gather for survival but the need to hunt/gather is still ingrained into our genetic make-up. so we resort to collecting in order to fill that void in our lives. sounds like a good enough excuse to me to warrant a day trip to the flea market! smile!

this particular original was my first sale from my etsy boutique. the buyer left wonderful feedback that she loved the art and would find it difficult to give it away to her sister as a gift. i'm working on a series similar to this one. i'll post photos soon. in the meantime, get out there and hunt/gather to your heart's content. apparently, we really have no choice in the matter. :)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

woo hoo!!

here i am working on my blog on my brand new imac. woo hoo! what a thrill to have a mac at home with cs2 loaded and ready for me to create, create, create!! i can't wait to have all of my personal files from work on my mac at home. i can turn my art into postcards and notecards and work to master both indesign and photo shop. i'm really just a novice at this point.

one of the first projects i want to start is a children's book idea that i have. i want to write the story and then do all the illustrations in my torn paper collage. i fear this will turn into another obsession which i will stay up into the wee hours of the night to create. but it is something i have wanted to do for some time.

thanks to jon for getting me his student discount on my mac. and, as always, thanks to bill for his love and support in all my creative endeavors. it is fantastic to have him cheering me on!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

blue skies

this week has been all about getting out there to explore what path i want to take next in my life. i sent a resume to just about every ad agency in dayton (i've already had my first hit and a phone interview scheduled for this afternoon). i started gathering materials for a custom canvas to send to a major scrapbooking manufacturer as a commission possibility. i gathered a list of dayton printing companies for a resume blast. i have a hit list of greeting card, print and gift publishers who accept freelance art work submissions. and, i will be meeting with a customer on tuesday to get a new custom original canvas started.

so, even though the sun is not shining today, it is all blue skies and wonderful possibilities for me.

the photo to the right shows a tree in my yard just barely starting to bud out. like me, it is stretching and growing and reaching for the sky!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

love affair

i must confess that i have a love affair going on. it's been a major part of my life for almost 50 years. it is my love of BOOKS!!! i love everything about books . . . reading them, picking them out at the library, smelling the printer's ink in a brand new book, collecting them, loaning them, recommending them, just everything. as a child i always had a book in hand. i read on the bus, in the back seat of my parents car, in our treehouse; pretty much anywhere my bottom landed, i was reading a book. i would have read at the dinner table if my mom had allowed it. for me, there is nothing like losing myself in a good book. i like the adventure of going new places and exploring situations i would never have the chance to explore in my real life. a book is a good friend, a solace in troubled times, a diversion from stress, a way to learn and the best conversation started i've ever known. many times when meeting someone new i think "oh, good, she reads" as an omen of what may be a lifelong friendship.
my daughter asked me once how many books i've read in my life and i'm stumped to even make a guess. as a child i could easily read a couple dozen library books in a week. for a while in the 90's, i kept journals of my "read books". i would enter the title, author, # of pages and the date i finished the book. one new year's day i announced to my family that i had read 70 some books and over 22,000 pages during the previous year. without a moment's hesitation my sister-in-law holly said i needed to get a life. it got a big laugh but i was sad that she didn't have the same passion and felt like she was the one missing out (sorry, holly!).
this photo is of my book shelf in my art room. there is a constant ebb and flow of books on it as i buy books, borrow books, loan books and get them back again. a few of them never leave the shelf as they are too precious for me to part with for even a little bit. like a long-time love, they are held close to the heart and cherished. i'd be sad and lost without them. so my love affair continues . . . and i refuse to apologize for this treasured guilty pleasure!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

free wheelin'

it looks like it's time to clean up the old bikes for another fun summer of cycling. as you can see, we haven't invested any money in our bikes. we got both of them free from family members. the first time i rode mine bill hummed "na na na na na na" from the wizard of oz as i sped up and down the street. (i love a smart ass so it was only natural that he and i would end up together.) i had not been on a bike in probably 12 years and was stunned by what a complete thrill it was. i'd forgotten how fast a bike could fly with very little effort and how refreshing it was to feel the wind in my hair. we didn't ride a lot last year but i hope we do more this year. as we prepare for me to lose my job at the end of this month, it has been kind of fun to brainstorm free entertainment ideas and ways to cut back on expenses. here's a few of them:
*** bicycle to the library to get free books to read; pick up free brochures in the lobby
*** use free brochures in backyard patio firepit to cook dinner
*** cancel trash pick-up; bicycle one bag of trash a day to the local CVS (while softly humming na-na-na-na-na-na)
*** furiously pedal bike on stationary stand equipped to generate electricity
*** quit taking BP meds -- no need with all the extra exercise
*** sell "witch on wheels" photos on the internet at huge profit
*** start bicycle trash pick-up service/business
*** sell bicycle book mobile service to local library
it kind of puts a whole new "spin" on free wheelin', huh?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

happy feet!

oh, happy, happy day when the weather gets warm enough in the spring that i can wear my sandals!!! it's going to be in the 70's again today and my feet sighed a very contented "ahhhhh!" when i slipped them into these brown faves. no comments please on my pudgy old toes or my need for a good manicure. smile! given a choice between taking care of my feet or being in the art room i'll pick collaging every time!!

speaking of collaging, i had one of those creative fear moments going in my art room last evening. i had just finished a new small canvas and i was not at all happy with it. a wash of incompetence and fear of failure came over me. all i could think was with all the trained, very talented artists out there, why would anyone buy art from me. it was not a good place to be. so my husband and i went for a long walk and i returned to my art feeling rejuvenated and optimistic. i'm going to push these negative thoughts aside and keep learning and growing and improving. i may not be the artist i want to be today but nothing can prevent me from becoming that artist one day soon. hope. dream. believe. achieve.

Monday, April 7, 2008

this is my latest creation titled "vino". a friend and co-worker will be displaying it at a wine tasting here in dayton on may 5th. i love how the little pieces of paper give a mosaic tile look. i would like to do custom canvasses for art or wine collectors who have a favorite bottle of wine. or maybe a winery would like to have a custom canvas done of their wine bottle. those are promotional ideas i'll be pursuing this month.

i just listed this canvas on my etsy boutique:

Sunday, April 6, 2008

cute, cute, cute!!

i found this little handmade birdie on etsy and i just love her!! i love all things "bird" and wanted to share this artist with all of you. she makes birds and a lot of other very adorable handmade ornaments! please check out her shop at

Saturday, April 5, 2008

garden blues

today will be my first day out in the garden this year!!! i plan to cut my 5 honeysuckle vines back before they start to sprout and grow too much. by cutting the old vines from last year back the plants will look much nicer and fuller this year. then i want to clean up my flower beds a bit. there is dead foliage from last year that needs to be cut back and removed. i am sure that my spirits will be lifted by this manual labor. maybe i'll wear my ipod and sing along to some kenny chesney or paul mccartney tunes. that always lifts my spirits as well.

the above torn paper collage is titled "garden blues". i just love the little blue bird sheltered by the tall stalks of the circle flowers. i imagine that he is singing the blues but in a good way. hopefully he's finding lots of worms and good nesting-building materials. this collage (and many others) is available at my etsy boutique: Please check it out! And, happy spring!!

Friday, April 4, 2008


while i was working on this new wine bottle collage early this morning i was thinking about how creating my art is a lot like laying brick. first there’s the blueprint for the design – a charcoal sketch drawn to the scale of the canvas. then there are the materials . . . the torn pieces of paper are the bricks and the mod podge is the mortar. i use tools; my foam brush is the trowel that lays the “mortar” down and my exacto knife slices away the extra glue or bits of paper. just as a brick mason uses steel brushes and a pressure washer as a final step, i use chalk, oil pastels and rubber stamp ink to give the intricate final touches.

you might ask how a mixed media artist knows so much about laying brick. my dad was a brick mason his entire life. there’s nothing like the smell of mortar to transport me back to my childhood and being around my dad. he laid the brick and limestone on our house. he built the cement block foundation for our swimming pool and laid the brick patio that surrounds the back of our house. i have fond memories of assisting with some of this work, particularly mixing mortar in the old electric masonry mixer. my strong work ethic was formed in those early work experiences with my dad. i’ve never known anyone who worked harder than my dad or with more integrity and pride in a job well-done.

about once a year or so we would all pile into the family car so dad could drive us to his latest construction site to see the just-finished school or museum. i usually had a small lump in my throat as we approached the site; overwhelmed by pride, i was in awe that my dad had played a big part in constructing such a beautiful building. for the latter half of my dad’s career he was the masonry foreman on these jobs, overseeing all the details of the masonry facet of the building. it was a huge undertaking but one that dad did very well. to this day, i can’t look at a gorgeous brick building without feeling pride in all that my dad has accomplished in his life.

so, although my art is not as grand in size, scope or importance as my dad’s buildings, the foundation for their creation stems from the work ethic and sense of pride and accomplishment that he instilled in me. i couldn’t be more proud to call him dad and i thank him with all my heart for all he has given me!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

need it, want it, gotta have it!

this is lola, an original torn paper collage i did back in february 2007. to me she looks like a lot of fun but definitely a high maintenance sort of girl. her make-up alone would take hours a day. smile! i don't think of myself as high maintenance, really quite the opposite. i'm self-sufficient, independent and can be ready to go every morning in about 30 minutes. i prefer jeans and a sweatshirt over any kind of couteur. i wear very little jewelry and only own 3 handbags. i just never had the "need it, want it, gotta have it" mentality. when my daughter megan was in grade school she inspired me to mutter those words to myself several times a week. she would get home from school and immediately call me on the phone with her daily request that i stop by the store on my way home to get her something. while she was detailing the urgent request, i would be muttering softly (and smiling!!) to myself, "need it, want it, gotta have it, need it, want it, gotta have it". most times the must-have was for a school project. as she moved into high school the object was more often connected to cheerleading or gymnastics and of course both the need and desire levels had risen. and, as most girls that age do, she became interested in name brand clothes and fashion and "having it". i supported this the best i could and i don't think she ever really went without anything she truly desired.
as megan has matured into a beautiful woman, wife and mother i've seen her "need it, want it, gotta have it" mantra almost completely disappear. she is a devoted mother who knows that time spent with her daughter is far more valuable than any material possessions. she's self-sufficient, independent and dresses simply, yet tastefully. i admire her humanity, dedication to giving back to the world and her empathy for others. she is on a remarkable journey of self-discovery and is a true friend and confidant to me when i'm off the path. to me, she demonstrates that you truly can have it all . . . and i'm not talking about material things. keep it up, megan; you are the wind beneath my wings!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


my bff and i were e-mailing yesterday about our need to control things. we have an ongoing discussion about our wishes for our funeral arrangements. yes, you read that right -- our funeral arrangements!! this all started a few years ago when i was impressed by the music a cousin selected for her father's funeral. i started thinking about what music i wanted to be played at my funeral. so i started a list -- life goes on by the beatles, the sound of silence by simon and garfunkel, carole king's tapestry and the list goes on and on, periodically tweaked and increased. my bff one-upped me and sent me the cd of her funeral songs along with a note that she was charging me with the task of ensuring that her sons play it at her last call. eventually this discussion turned to what we wanted to be buried in. my bff - jeans and a black t-shirt. me --pajamas, of course!! all of these discussions and plans are done in the best of fun but my bff and i both know that it is really all about control and wanting to have the last say even as we lay in our caskets. maybe by the time we are in our 80's the need to control will be long gone but i truly home not.

the above photo was taken in my art room. i change the sayings on the blackboards sometimes but these are 2 of my favorites, especially the free your heart one. i try to live my life this way but have to admit that it's not always easy. i mostly struggle with the worry and the expectation parts. those are really all about control or lack of control in my life. someday i'll get the hang of it, i'm sure. someday i'll be free.