Chicago’s Top 10 Hits – Subway Art

January 21, 2016 at 8:27 pm (mixed media, Subway Art)

I am working on a bigger project but I wanted to show you a fun one I did over the last few days.

As my daughter knows very well, I was obsessed with two things in 2015; the music of Chicago and seeing Jeff Gordon win the Sprint Cup Championship.  (Amanda, did you check out “A Hit By Varese?”)

Jeff didn’t win, but Chicago was elected into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!!

I’ve downloaded most of their music to my iPod because I don’t have a record player to play their albums and got to thinking about their top songs of all times.

The website, Ultimate Classic Rock actually has a list of their top 10 songs.  I thought some more and wondered if there would be a way to use my trusty Cameo and make a piece of subway art…

Ta Da….. !!

Subway Art-1

My favorite song “Little Miss Lovin'” isn’t on the list 😦

It was a lot of work but a lot of fun 🙂   I used a layering technique and used the Cameo to make the stencils

Subway Art-2

This is the stage when I put the stencils on the piece, and subsequently painted over it 🙂

So, it was an easy and very fun project…  🙂


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That Time I Knitted A Hat (Twice)

January 17, 2016 at 9:54 pm (Creative adventures, Knitting projects, mixed media)

I am taking a 5-6 day break from Facebook.  I find that it can be a giant hole that sucks me in and before I know it, hours have passed!!  I’ve got stuff to do!!  So… if you don’t hear from me, I’m okay, really, I am!!

Last year I bought a beautiful book of knitting projects called Boutique Knits.The Time I Knitted A Hat (Twice)-5

I have to be honest and tell you that I bought it solely for the hat pictured on the cover!!  Actually there are a few more I want to work up but I need the specific needles so that goes in my pile of “to-do projects.”

Knitting for me is an interesting adventure because I am a self-taught, left-handed knitter!! Everything I read now tells me I should have learned the “continental” way.  Well, I tried that last year and it was a big fat *FAIL.  So, I need to reverse all of the directions.  Try and do that while you are knitting (and you only knit once or twice a year)!!  You guessed it… I tear out rows and rows!!

Anyway, I made the beautiful hat last year in a raspberry color.  I was Amanda’s “band” for a women’s retreat while she led worship.  I had her put the hat on and she looked so beautiful in it I gave it to her!

The Time I Knitted A Hat (Twice)-3

Doesn’t she look beautiful?!?!?! (As an aside, it took me 30 minutes to figure out how to get this ONE picture from her Instagram account 🙂  )   I may not be tech-savy, but I am persistent!!

Anyway, this year I decided to knit myself one.  I didn’t want a twin look so I chose a lighter pink.  It went much smoother this time because I caught my “backwards” error only two rows into the body of the hat!!

The Time I Knitted A Hat (Twice)-2

I love my hat!!

Today the Pittsburgh Steelers played in a playoff game in Denver.  I was so nervous and since I couldn’t peruse Facebook for relief, (remember my hiatus…), I decided to draw a face with a twist…

The Time I Knitted A Hat (Twice)-4.jpg

Isn’t she beautiful???  I don’t know what I’m going to do with her, but I know it will be something special!!

Here’s to a productive week!!!

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Drawing Faces… and More Faces

January 14, 2016 at 5:05 pm (mixed media)



This is where I am now… but here is where I began



I began art classes in 2006.  I learned how to paint flowers and scenes, learned Rosemaling and other decorative art techniques.  I always said “I can’t draw!”

Millie was my first face, drawn three years ago.  I was in a dark place and was doodling as I sat one rainy October day.  I drew her and wrote “Millie” without thought.

A year ago I had an idea for 4 mixed media pieces — I call them my “Journey” Pieces. “Find Joy In the Journey” “Find Strength for the Journey” “Find Courage for the Journey” “Fine Hope In the Journey”

Okay, so I had my concept, now I needed to figure out how to draw faces!!  My Millie face was inspired so she didn’t count!!

So, I started drawing.  My first attempts weren’t very good but I kept drawing.  I don’t have every face I drew because quite honestly some ended up in “File 13.”   I usually draw faces when I am watching TV in the evening with DannyO.  The best book I purchased (and it was worth every penny) is Jane Davenport’s Book on Drawing Beautiful Faces.   Here are a few…

I kept at it…



And here I am now!!

Danny says they all look alike 🙂  I say I have a brain thinking something very specific and these are what pop out!!  My noses and mouths are getting more detail.  I am learning how to draw eyes without huge eyelashes!!

As I continue to grow as an artist, I will keep practicing!  It will be interesting to see how they evolve.  I love all of my girls.  In my eyes they are all beautiful!!!

Have you tried something completely new and different lately??  If not, why not??  You CAN do it!!

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January Sewing Adventures

January 11, 2016 at 12:42 pm (Sewing Projects)

I have sewed since I was 10 years old.  This was my very first sewing project.  🙂


My First Sewing Project… 1969

I have gained weight and nothing in my closet fits.  Until I lose the weight (It may be at the 12th of never), I wanted to have some pieces that I feel comfortable wearing.

I like to purchase from small retailers and I’ve bought Hot Patterns for about five years but haven’t made any of them until now.  Their patterns are printed on heavy paper and I find that the sizes are closer to what I wear in ready-to-wear (size 10-12).

The first pattern I made was their “Fast and Fabulous blouse-back T.” I altered the pattern to make a jacket in the style of a popular QVC designer… I added two inches to the center front for the placket.  I also made the sleeves 3/4″ instead of short. Because I opened the front, the back shoulders ended up being a bit big.  Because of that, I sewed a small dart from the shoulder seam, diagonally, to the sleeve seam.

I then decided to make their “Fast & Fabulous Famous Tummy-taming Trousers.” I did make a muslin for this pattern.  I wore a size 12 without any alterations.  I used a stretch denim I got at Joann Fabrics.  I am very pleased with the way this pant turned out. I sewed them in two hours, including the invisible zipper.  I did not include the side-slit because I intend to wear these in our cold PA winters!   I am learning to master my serger and it came in handy as I zipped through this project.

I have a lighter color denim I am going to use the next time.  I also will probably shorten the waist by about one inch.  I love the high-waist look but I want a more neutral waist next time.

I hope to finish my jacket this week.


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The paint is dry on my in-progress subway art so I must get back to my task at hand.  I hope you enjoyed reading about my sewing projects 😀

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My Happy Place

January 9, 2016 at 2:12 pm (Decorative Painting, mixed media, Sewing)

With my house undressed from the Christmas season, I am ready to hit the ground running in 2016.  I have some orders for my mixed media and subway art.  While I wait for some basecoating to dry, I thought I’d share with you pictures of my favorite place in our house (besides the coffee pot). 🙂

My little art studio is about 10’x 14′ in total.  I have to keep it relatively clean or else I cannot work.  I tell DannyO, he has the basement, garage, and woodworking shed for all of his hobbies and I have my little room… sort of like trying to get a Saint Bernard through a cat door!!

My little room has 7 large windows and because it is 3 stories high, in the summer time I feel like I’m in a tree house.  In the winter, it is a refuge for me as I hibernate.  I love to watch snow fall as I sit at my work tables.

I have covered the walls with posters from my daughter’s music endeavors, newspaper clippings about my son and family photos.  I have two file cabinets, which are stuffed full of books and patterns.  My fabric wall is pretty well organized.

I have a great place to put my paint and pencils and markers, a rolling cart from Ikea.  In fact, I’d like another one (hint, hint to my family… Mother’s Day present!!).

My Happy Place-1

I have a long table that holds my art projects.  I need that much space because I often work on more than one thing and need places for art to dry.  I have a picture of my Grandma Millie (more about her in a later post) and my original “Millie” sketch where I can see them all the time.  I have a card table for my computer and Silhouette Cameo.  I had to purchase a covered garbage can because Jazzy Joy has a paper towel fetish.  The more paint it has on it, the better.  It’s a good thing that Heritage Multimedia paints are safe!!

My Happy Place-9

I also have a dedicated sewing table.  I used to paint for relaxation but since I have orders to fill, I sew to relax!!  I have a few finished pieces to post another day.

My Happy Place-10

Of course, every happy place needs music!!  I have my iPod filled with about  5 days of music!!  I usually “shuffle songs” so I can have a variety.  DannyO got me a TV for my birthday and he has it mounted on the wall.  When the Steelers make me nervous, I go up to my art studio and move paint around while watching the game.  That way if they lose, I don’t feel like I’ve wasted four hours!!

Since I haven’t blogged in a long time, I am going to show you some pieces that I finished in the last six months!!

It is my practically perfect place for relaxation and work!!  Thank you for taking the tour with me!!  I hope you have a place in your home where you can be happy too!!

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Practicing Praise

January 7, 2016 at 4:09 pm (mixed media) (, )

Today has been “one of those days.”  I was up most of the night with trigeminal neuralgia pain.  We have company coming for supper (I’m not cooking… ). I had a list… I always have a list!!  I begin to edit my list at 7:00 a.m. because I had to medicate to the gills to function.

Meanwhile, the art class I am taking, Life Book 2016, includes some new techniques, using Tombow markers and Caran D’Ache Neocolor II wax pastels.  I’m an acrylics and colored pencil girl and am very comfortable with those mediums.

You’d think that after 56 years I’d learn when NOT to try something new.  Now I must start over on the very first project of the series!  Ugh!!

Jazzy has been particularly restless today.  Her Dad needs to take her for a three-hour hike this weekend!!

Practicing Praise-1

Through all of this frustrating day, I’ve been practicing praise. I’m trying not to grouse through my angst, but am working to see the bright side of my circumstances.  I had a running dialogue with the Lord and myself today…  “Thank you Lord for my blessings…”  “Come on Mel… you can do the next thing…” It made the day easier to handle.

I don’t have to go to a job so when my TN overwhelms me with pain, I can stay home and medicate.

Nothing on my list needed done (except clean the toilets), so I pared it down to a few necessaries.

Jazzy just spent lots of time outside –  on her leash – surveying her kingdom.

My art project is a work in progress.  I’m doing the work, accepting the failures as I perfect new techniques.

Our friends will come tonight and we will have a wonderful time.  It will be all good 😀

This mixed media piece is one I did in July.  She is still with me and I love her 🙂


Practicing Praise-2

I am a “Child of the King!” (see my crown??)

He inhabits our praise!!

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Daring to Dream

January 5, 2016 at 3:29 pm (mixed media, Sewing Projects) (, , )

It was cold, cold, cold outside this morning.  My face told me it was cold.  I had already decided to hibernate, but darling DannyO forgot his phone and Jazzy and I took a trip to Johnstown to deliver said phone.  I had my face completely covered up and the air still effected me.

My OCD doesn’t like changes in schedules but I flipped my errand day from tomorrow until today.

I’ve been pondering why I’m spinning in circles and I realized that I had forgotten how to dream!!  I encourage my kids to dream and reach their highest potential.  I encourage darling hubby to dream.  In fact,in may, he left a job he held for nearly 20 years to take a chance on something new (Yay DannyO!!!)

But once my music dreams faltered because of my physical issues, I became stuck… I didn’t dream for me!  I’ve been stuck since 2012.

We are so blessed in America that we CAN dream!  Our days aren’t filled with making sure we have the simple necessities of life.  In some countries, I’d be searching for water, harvesting fields, sweeping dirt floors.  But I sit here in my warm house and, after I’ve taken care of my daily chores, I can dream, but I didn’t… until now!!

This morning, as I read my devotion book given to me by my best friend, Juel, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young , this quote stood out.

“True dependence is not simply asking Me to bless what you have decided to do. It is coming to Me with an open mind and heart, inviting Me to plant My desires within you.  I may infuse within you a dream that seems far beyond your reach.  You know that in yourself you cannot achieve such a goal.  Thus begins your journey of profound reliance on Me…  This is not a path of continual success but of multiple failures.  However, each failure is followed by a growth spurt, nourished by increased reliance on Me.”

I have a dream that my art can somehow reach people and I can supplement our income with said art.  I have a dream that I resume my love of sewing, something I’ve done since I was 10 years old.  I have a dream that I can make my blog into something someone wants to read, full of encouragement. I have a dream that I can somehow, someway, rise above the intense pain I live with and remake me — a rebirth of sorts at 56!!

Working on a coat with wool that a friend gave me about 4 years ago.

McCalls 7256


Working on Subway art…


My sketch for my first “assignment” I’m taking, Life Book 2016





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This Blogger lost her Way

January 4, 2016 at 2:02 pm (Musings...)

I am currently in hibernation mode.  The cold weather makes my TN very angry.  It doesn’t matter if I cover my head, my ears and my mouth, it still  elicits pain.  I have one errand day — Wednesday — and I cram all of my tasks into one day.

It’s been six months since I promised to blog again.  I failed miserably.  I’ve been pondering why I haven’t blogged and the bottom line is, I’ve lost my blogging way.  Why am I blogging?? What am I blogging about?  What is my message??

I’ve answered some of the questions in my crazy brain and hope, in the near future, to move forward with a new blog, new ideas and fresh perspective.  Until that time, I’ll keep you up to date on this site.

Bottom line is I’m a 56 year old wife and mother with multiple sclerosis and trigeminal neuralgia.  Pain follows me each and every day.  You don’t want to hear about the pain because most of you have pain of your own.  My children are grown and moving on with their lives and I’m {{Still}} going in circles.  I am working on a purpose statement for 2016.

I think I’d like my blog to be a daily encouragement to those who struggle like I do, yet overcome each and every day!  I’d like to share recipes, ideas, and focus on my art and sewing.  I want this blog to again be an extension of who I am.

My Facebook book club is reading Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert.  On page 26, she writes a letter to “Fear,” which always goes with her.  She speaks to fear as if it were an entity, a person.  Her conclusion is that fear can come along for the ride.  He can have a seat, even a voice, but NOT a vote!!  I was so excited when I read that, I called Amanda and read the whole passage to her (which was noisy because she didn’t have her earpiece, was driving in VA and isn’t allowed to hold a phone so she stuck it on speaker).

So… I will show you, in pictures, what the last six months included — minus the painful days… only the highlights!!



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Moving Through the Next Chapter of My Life (such as it is)

June 16, 2015 at 11:28 am (mixed media, Multiple Sclerosis, occipital neuralgia, Sewing Projects, Trigeminal Neuralgia)

I have been moving right along as I work through a rough spring with my trigeminal and occipital neuralgia.  When these storm systems roll through, my face and head have their own agenda.  My botox injections were adminstered late due to a change in hospitalization (which is a pain to navigate when one has chronic conditions).  The botox, while not completely effective, takes the brunt of the worst pain from me.  The last two months have been more bad days than good.

I have had some orders for my mixed media “Journey” pieces so I have been spending a few hours each day working on them.  I am having them photographed by a wonderful photographer, Tab James of AdLiv Collective in the hopes of selling prints on line.  I will continue to work on original pieces.  I promise I will blog about the beginnings of my Lovingly Millie collection.

Find Strength for the Journey

Find Strength for the Journey – Tab’s photographs bring out all the layers of the mixed media piece.

I have an order for some terra cotta pendants and usually spend an hour in the evening rolling clay and molding it — very relaxing.

I also have gained weight and not many of my clothes fit me so I am trying to sew a few summer pieces that actually look good on my “new” body.  Accepting where I am right now weight-wise is very hard for me.  I am posting these pictures, although most of my being is screaming to keep them hidden.  This is part of my journey too…

A little pink dress (the back is open with a tie)

A little pink dress (the back is open with a tie)

This actually is a

This actually is a “muslin” of a new pattern that actually fits so I will wear it 🙂

Throughout my day, my constant companion is our one-year-old Airedale, Jazzy Joy.  THIS is what she does while I create.  I promise you, this bed was beautifully made earlier in the day 🙂

The tornado that is Jazzy

The tornado that is Jazzy

Oh, and, do you like my sunglasses I got for the beach??  The great thing about glasses and earrings… they usually fit!

Cool shades!!

Cool shades!!

Be blessed and encouraged.  If I can do one productive thing on days I can only carefully move my head, so can you!!

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My Favorite Room (Previously posted October 28, 2008)

June 5, 2015 at 3:00 pm (Musings...)

As I am working my way back into blogging, I thought I’d post some blogs of years past.  This post was published on October 26, 2008.  Nothing has changed in this room, including the fact that it’s my place of peace.  

I thought I’d share pictures of my favorite room in my house.  In it, I am surrounded by my favorite things… my Grandmother’s Hoosier Hutch (with burn marks in the enamel from Grandpap’s cigarettes), my “primitive” hutch, my teapots, a collection of “Marcrest” pottery, some of my decorative paintings, and if you look closely on the bench Danny made, my Bible and study materials.  I made the drapes and arranged the flowers.

From this vantage point, I drink tea, relax, read, study, think, pray, and watch.  It is a place of peace for me.  I caught my bandit chipmunk stealing seeds (see previous post) from this chair.  I am blessed.  🙂

My primitive hutch and collection of teapots

My primitive hutch and collection of teapots


A “bird’s eye” view

Grandma's hutch, Marcrest pottery and my breadbox

Grandma’s hutch, Marcrest pottery and breadbox

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