Sunday, December 30, 2007

Published, Well Sort of...Well, Actually, Yes!

This may be the most egomaniacal post yet, but I just had to say "hooray!" I'm published in one of my favorite national magazines, Somerset Studio, issued bi-monthly by Stampington and Co., in California. This gorgeous magazine is considered the altered artists' definitive manual by many, and it is certainly the most luscious kind of eye candy.
Now, before you start mailing issues for autographs, let me clarify by saying I had a letter to the editor published (Jan-Feb '08, p. 5). I know, it's not art. But, it's about art. And they chose my letter from surely hundreds. So I am excited and flattered. And, I'm hoping this will signal good things to come. Certainly, it spurred me on to pack up some real art, write up the necessary documents and get them ready to mail off to sunny CA. I'll keep you 'posted,' pun intended. And by the way, as I was uploading this, I noticed it is indeed my 200th post! Here's hoping my art can be as prolific as my words. Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Lovin' Zentangles -My New Therapy

As prescribed by me and introduced to me by Jade Adams and her mom Vonda Robert of ARTchix, ATC World, ZettiZoo (and well, where aren't they?), Zentangles are the best relaxation therapy ever.

They take time; you have to concentrate and focus on only them, and it's fun! It took me a while to find a pen I like, breezing through Pigma Microns of various sizes, Uniballs, a Gel Extreme 0.5 and a Sharpie extra fine (Santa put some of those in my stocking).

Today I packaged up six of my first eight for an ATC World swap hosted by Ms. Vonda. Can't wait to get some back. Besides being relaxing to make, they also make you think when you look at them. For more information, go to

See what you see in my Zentangles.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What I Did On My Winter Vacation

So far, I feel like I have been piddling my time away, being lazy, but I guess that's what vacation is for, right? Today I got up at the sinful hour of 10:30 a.m., and at 4:30 p.m. I looked at the clock and asked myself what in the world I had been doing for the last six hours. I couldn't really think of anything! Eek. I did package up some swaps and mail stuff. I spent a lot of time reading friends' blogs. I took some pictures and uploaded them to Flickr.

I am glad to say my pictures have a static address now, which is:

Makes it a lot easier to direct friends to photos like the one here of Cabbage Patch Jacob Alexander Dye. Now hold your comments! He wanted to pose like this! He got Matchbox sets. Cousins Chloe and Logan got the Cabbage Patch(es): Sophie Madison and Billy Somebody. Kids always like the boxes best.

It has been about a month since I got this glorious swap box from Michelle of Hold Dear in Oregon. We've been hatching a plan, or actually she has, about a Mermaid Swap. I've been waiting until she announces her plans to post these pics, but I just couldn't wait any longer. Tonight I sorted through her goodies again, and I just feel so fortunate to have such wonderful blog friends. I can't wait to meet some of them in person next year. I also sorted and filed goodies from fellow Memory Works 'worker' Lynn Darda of Winamac, IN who sent me a huge box of Western US memorabilia and the wonderful DeBRiNa Pratt of spark*your*imagination on ebay and flickr. I have more goodies to show in future posts.

We are still enjoying all the remnants of Christmas treats here, although I spent that day in bed under the weather, and missed the Cabbage Patch opening altogether. Right now I am writing this in my new Lands End flannel pjs and contemplating a Lands End peppermint cookie...or a Godiva's...or perhaps some South Bend Chocolates...maybe some Chex Mix....or, I know! A deviled egg. Egads. Holidays + vacation = strange eating habits + strange sleeping hours. Love it!
Oh yeah, I forgot. Maybe I am lazy today because I stayed up until 2 a.m. this morning crocheting: nine hats to be exact. Lester models the one with Elmer Fudd earflaps here. They're actually for the Blythes on that 'other' blog

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Art and Poetry, Poetry and Art

...And so often the twain shall meet. Being a moderator for the ZNE Verses forum, I decided I should join the ZNE group Artists and Poets. Artist Jodi Barone runs a separate blog for this group, one of her two blogs.

I didn't know I would find already-blog-friend Laurie Marshall of Loud Life fame with some cool poetry and a fabulous journal. I am also enjoying other ZNE friends' creative work and inspirational art- published there to jumpstart poetry.

What I also did not expect was to find myself featured there on the home page so soon, with one of my first works, shown there to evoke well, something, in someone(s). You can see it here

Jodi asked me what it meant, and first I told her the usual: it means whatever anyone sees, blah, blah, blah. But then I decided to figure out why I had made it as I did. Certainly, Teesha Moore's style inspired me and also Karyn Gartel

I also said I find that those who are too too outspoken and judgmental and presumptuous usually have to eat crow later, and to that I say, "would you like fries with that?" In other words, dig in.

Finally, I told her I might just eat all five cupcakes in one sitting and in numerical order if I want, and all of my family, friends, colleagues, customers, etc., whom I find have treated me differently since gaining a little weight can just eat crow. Or they can eat cupcakes with me. So enough of that. That is exactly why I hate explaining (or even thinking about) what my art means.

On the poetry subject, joining the group made me dig out my earliest poems, from about age 16, when I wrote a bunch. I was lucky enough to get one published by Indiana University in a book of mostly adult poetry, called Indiana Writes, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. Several other poems, including this one, were also published in the local newspaper, at that time called the Anderson Herald.


You sat there figuring the square
root of a multi-digit number.
There was a calculator in its case,
but only a worn down pencil and
a stack of paper was good enough
for you.

Your face mirrored your mind
working, and I was in awe of
your anger as another wadded up
sheet of paper was sent flying
to the trash can. If it wasn’t
math, it had to be history or
science, and of course weekends
were reserved for English.

I always said, “How brilliant.”
Or “That’s wonderful.” Then I
Hopped to the pencil sharpener
So you wouldn’t be without a
Sharp point. Other times I went
Off in search of more paper
For you.

That was a year ago and you’re
still the great genius you
were born to be and me-
well, you made me wonder why I
wasn’t an algebra book or
a grammar lesson or even a
pencil sharpener that you could
turn and turn until your pencil
was resharpened.

Gina Smith

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tagged Again, This Time By My Roomie

I discovered today quite by accident while blog-hopping that I have been tagged by Elaine at Artful Spirit She is going to be my roommate at Art & Soul in Hamtpon, VA in May 2008, so I guess we'd better get to know each other! I can tell you she makes fabulous folk art sculptures from paper clay. Elaine was tagged by two other mutual blog friends, Viv, hostess of the snowman swap, at and Sadie Hartmann, maker of Betsy ornaments and more at

So I am supposed to tell five unusual things about myself. Although I am not feeling very unusual at the moment and seem to have the holiday blahs and a muse slump, here goes:

1) I am a little bit obsessive-compulsive, and this is not to mock anyone who is medicated for this. Perhaps I should be. I like to hang my clothes by color, line up my shoes neatly, organize my canned goods in my pantry by type, and much too much to even name. When I was little I had a collection of porcelain animals on my dresser, and one of my girlfriends took pleasure in rearranging them. It would actually make me cry. So it would when my nieces and nephews messed with my Barbie house arrangements. What can I say? I was a brat. An OCD brat.

2) I used to be fluent in Spanish, having majored in it in college, having hosted briefly an exchange student from Chile and having taken honors Spanish all through high school as well as French in college. By the time I graduated, I had read a novel in Spanish and written a term paper. I wish I had done more with it and have lost much of my ability.

3) Sadie Lou said she bites her fingernails, so I am going to steal that one, although I don't anymore. I did from toddlerhood to age 15, and then stopped cold turkey in 10th grade, probably the only cold turkey thing I've ever done. Moreover, I can't believe I ever did it, because I am so fussy about my nails now, girly and I don't like to stick anything germ-y in my mouth, like fingers (more OCD coming through). I don't even like to touch my face with my fingers, except when washing my face.

4) Can't sing or dance a lick, although I try. I absolutely love all music, know the words to a million songs, could play Name that Tune or Songburst until the cows come home, but no one can stand to be around me when I do. Although I was short, I got moved to the back row with the tall boys in second grade choir (that's how bad I was), and I pretty much got kicked out of junior high band. I was just awful-really. Several years of dance lessons also did no good, although by the time I took ballet in college, I was okay, except for leaping- ugly! And I would start to giggle- and ballerinas can't giggle, or even crack a smile.

5) I wouldn't mind living on a farm. I like all the hard work, baking, cleaning, gardening. I have driven a tractor and a chisel plow before. I like the big old houses, big open spaces, animals, natural foods, vegetables, canning. I can ride and saddle a horse. And all this is funny because my friends think I am a prissy city-slicker.

Done. And in the spirit of the busy holidays, I am not tagging anyone! Aren't you relieved?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Imagine and Believe, 4 x 4 Friday

I created this 4-inch by 4-inch book page, front and back for the weekly challenge at The challenge was to create a 4 x 4 piece of art using blue and silver. Being active also in The Artists of Chubbyville on Yahoo!- a fat book group, I always like to make my 4 x 4's into double-sided pages so I can swap or bind them later.
Like blue and silver, I like the contrast of "Imagine" and "Believe," and I certainly think you can do both. As well, this is no commercial for anything. I say: Believe Whatever Works for You. But, the little turquoise cross charm came in a swap from Dale, so it seemed perfect for this once I had drawn the earth.
Peace on Earth to everyone.

It's Winter Everywhere

At the suggestion of another Flickr artist, I cropped my Charlie Brown tree photo, and found it was well received, enough even to get some "winter photography" awards in Flickr. Cool. Actually freezing. Award at right, buried under 15 inches of snow.

And although the Blythes are supposed to hang out on their own blog, Lilly just wanted to say Happy Holidays and show off her angel wings from the Victoria's Secret catwalk, because some of her photos got the new Faerie Zine Award of Magic, also at right.

Have a Magical Holiday!

Have a Magical Christmas
Happy Holidays From The Faerie Zine

Sunday, December 16, 2007

After the Snow Fell, Part I

And now, presenting the miniature Japanese cherry tree, aka Charlie Brown tree, in the blizzard of 12-16-07. I'm not sure which season I like the best of the three pictured here and below, but I know which one I like to be the shortest!

Tree in Fall, Before the Snow Fell Part II

Sunrise pratice
Originally uploaded by Gina2424
Here's the same backyard in fall, with the cherry tree in the right foreground. Not a very good pic but a foreboding of what is to come.

Before the Snow Fell

Originally uploaded by Gina2424
This is the same backyard looking the opposite direction. The miniature Japanese cherry tree is pictured between the two smaller windows. Sure looks good about now! So does the sky. And grass. And clouds. And green. And blue.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Not Quite A Swap Yet, More Like a RAK

I received this totally cool piece of art in the mail today from MizCarla of ZNE fame and also of Glenmora, LA. It is a block 6.5 x 5.5 x 1.5 inches with just the nicest collage, including vintage letter tiles and pompom trim. The top includes nails with ribbons. I just love the nails, the flowers, the stems, the buttons, the thought. I asked her when I saw it on if she would like to do a trade or a swap. Before I knew it, she whisked it on its way to me but has yet to tell me what she wants in return. So we haven't officially "swapped" yet. For now I am calling it a Random Act of Kindness because she was so generous with her art. If she doesn't tell me what to send, I'll just have to RAK her too.

Fruitcake Page Featured on Kit Club

While enduring another sleepless night, or I guess I should say morning since I woke up at 3 a.m. ready to go (where?), I found some of my art featured on Paula's Kit Club Paula Montgomery, formerly of Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers has absolutely the best scrapbooking, stamping and card-making club around!

She offers several choices of kit size and frequency as well as stamp options of mounted, unmounted, etc. But they key is, her kits are cool! No cutesy crap, no foo-f00. Instead, there are cool retro, chic, kitsch-y and otherwise funky elements. Plus, you just have to read Enzo's Report Card on her site.

I used her recent kit to make a 6 x 6 book page for an ebay group BkNq page swap. Haven't done a lot yet with my November kit, but I am enjoying the vintage cheese labels. Now, my December kit is winging its way to me. More motivation and inspiration, in a box.

Here's a pic of what I made or go check the link and see more cool stuff. The page now belongs to Rainbow869 Betty in Wisconsin.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Holiday Greeting to You and Yours

Click here for some really fun little elves singing and dancing up a storm just for you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

So What Do I Love about my Holiday Home?

That was the assignment: tell in words and pictures what you like about your own holiday home, as assigned by Karla at for today, 12-12-07. As of 8:30 p.m. eastern time there were 136 gorgeous responses. I cannot urge you enough to click this link to enjoy seeing decorating styles and decorations from around the world.

I took the easy way out this morning, because I only had about five minutes before work to upload some photos and get linked up to Karla's blog. No time to write anything. But after a long day of meetings and a two-hour-plus drive home, I still felt guilty when I read the comments and looked at all the other lovely posts. So here goes:

Every year I think we all enjoy getting out all the old ornaments and remembering how they came to be. The DH and I have ornaments from our own childhood trees, and the kids have ornaments they made for us as gifts as well as funny pictures from baby's first Christmas or a pre-school class photo ornament. We also have tried to buy souvenir ornaments on our travels and have received some as gifts, so we remember those spots. It's funny, but we also remember some of the ones that have been broken over the years (mostly by the cats), and then we hang ornaments with pictures of all our prior cats!

Most of the time the house is pretty neutral- a lot of off white- so I like breaking out the red this time of year, from afghans to poinsettias to bears with striped sweaters. We look forward to wrapping the presents, and I'm a stickler for not using crappy bows or tags that clash. I figure you should show some care in presentation to the recipient, even if the recipient is two and would prefer to eat the bow.

I also like the smells of Christmas, and although we've had fake trees the last couple of years (another cat necessity), I like to light candles, burn potpourri, use plug-ins and anything I can get to add the scent of pine and cinnamon and spice and vanilla. Clearly, this blog also demonstrates I like to break out the Christmas music- anything goes - from Frank and Dean to Beyonce and indie and alternative artists.

The other thing I like to think about this time of year has nothing to do with my house now but the house of my childhood. I have distinct memories of age five to 11. Before my father died and our family unit and extended family were forever changed, we had grand celebrations. Although it was only a three-bedroom ranch, and small at that, it seemed like a mansion with my mother's decorating. She was Martha before Martha was in heels. I distinctly remember the search for a perfect live tree, not just for the perfect shape, of course, but because it would then be left at the nursery, Sczezny's in fact, to be flocked a different color each year and picked up later. I can remember white, pink and blue for sure. In fact, I do not ever remember growing up with a green tree, how funny is that? I thought it was perfectly normal at the time.

The tree would then be decorated to coordinate with the flocking. I remember absolutely gorgeous, elaborate ornaments with velvet and ribbon and jewels. There were incredible detailed balls, like Faberge eggs. There were gilded angels with harps, drums, skiing angels, encrusted bells and baubles, and a beautiful angel for the topper. Many of these ornaments were pink; I can definitely remember a white tree with all pink ornaments. I remember pink and olive. I'm pretty sure we had all pink lights some years- the big, fat, old-fashioned bulbs.

Besides the tree and the pretty little nativity scene underneath, I remember my excitement the few years my dad felt well enough to put a huge wooden santa and all his reindeer up on our roof or in our front bushes. It was literally life-size, and I thought it was the most exciting thing in the world to see, along with the big plastic light-up snowman on the porch. I guess all these have been replace by giant balloons for some reason-perhaps so they can deflate and hang around until spring?

So I guess that explains why I have a white tree with pink ornaments this year, my first attempt. I will admit to brown and turquoise the two years before this. But, we still do a "normal" tree also, as pictured below. I also have a six foot skinny green tree, sort of Charlie Brown-ish for all primitive and country ornaments, but I did not do that one this year. In fact, I am slowly learning it doesn't all have to be perfect to be perfect. And I am learning memories are just as important as the actual ornaments. I can see clearly all those childhood ornaments and with both my parents gone now 35 and 9 years respectively, no one left has any idea what happened to all those ornaments and lights. But we all remember them.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Welcome to My Holiday Open House!

It's another wonderful blog party heard 'round the world. On Wednesday, Dec. 12 be sure to visit for a holiday open house linking my home to many more decorated homes for you to view. I know Karla's will be fab, and many promise to be much more elaborate than what I have done. Here's a few pics from me, but tomorrow (or depending upon when you are reading this) click on Karla's blog above and there you will find links to all the homes in the tour.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I Own a Gorilla and a Mirror

Well, actually, no one should 'own' a gorilla, but my little donation went in with the $500 raised in the Altered Art Obsession and the Artists of Chubbyville raffle to allow us to adopt Umushikirano, better known as Rano, a 14 year-old silverback from Beetsme's group, one of the main groups of mountain gorillas monitored by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.

And on top of that, I won a wonderful sea mirror with lots of beach glass made and donated by Jeanette Coates. There were lots of great pieces of art up for grabs, and other great artists who donated cash and/or supported the auction on their blog. All for Rano. Thanks especially to Rita Bellanca for coordinating everything and mailing all the prizes out and covering the shipping so that 100% of our funds could be donated. Besides sponsoring Rano, a significant donation was made to Wildlife Direct, founded by Dr. Richard Leakey.

Rano was born in 1992 to Fuddle and has two sisters (Mawingu, 25, Taraja, 7) and two brothers (Bilbo, 28, and Joliami, 19). Both brothers are also lone silverbacks whose current location remains unknown. Rano can be recognized very easily by his nose which has a distinctive cut. His kindness and easygoing demeanor allow trackers to get good photos of him because he seems to always be ready for a photo opportunity.

Rano is now what is known as a lone silverback, in that he has moved away from his natal group. He has been making attempts to form his own group since then. He managed to garner two females to join him for a short period of time but soon lost them to another group that ranges into the Congo border.

DFGFI lost contact with him between 9/06 thru 4/07 but he's back.Rano continues to be monitored and allows a great opportunity for the DFGFI staff to learn more about the fascinating lives of mountain gorillas. Fascinating work that would be!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The 4 x 4 Friday Theme is the Always Popular Miss Mona Lisa

The theme for 4 x 4 Friday is Mona Lisa, always a fun countenance to work with. Leonardo obviously thought so, and she's endured for about 500 years-pretty popular, I'd say. I rubber stamped her on a transparency and mounted that over patterned paper. I found the word "create" already in funky type and added the typewriter key stickers. You can follow the link above to see interpretations from all over the world.
This is about all the art that got done this weekend as I had to do some actual Christmas shopping. I also packed up boxes for swaps with Miss Vicky and Linda J for our Blythe swap. She has a wonderful blog at Her Blythes, Molli and Zelda, went shopping for mine, Lilly and Maggy. More at
Now back to the studio for me. I have a project due tomorrow for Shabby Cottage Studios. Go check them out- the design team is busy making samples of something cool you can buy to alter.
P.S. Here's a weird thing: My 17-year-old cleaned his room today- sweeper, dust rag, the whole thing, even the feather duster. Is he sick? I wondered. But no, his girlfriend was there directing the show. How cute and wonderful. I was so glad she found the stray laundry behind the dresser, too! Hopefully, he won't do that again.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Blythe Girls Get Their Own London Flat

Okay people. I'm only going to say this once. The Blythe sisters, Lilly and Maggy got their own apartment and have moved out. They are having an open house over on their new blog Blythe-O-Mania Untamed They just were demanding too much time on this here artsy fartsy blog, and since they are spoiled, of course I complied. Now here's just one teaser pic, and from now on, only art here and blimey! Blythes over there. But, speaking of art, they did receive some great Re-Ment and Puchi housewarming gifts today from fellow ZNE member and artist Vicky Breslin, Miss Vicky of Cut-it-Up fame.

Monday, December 3, 2007

So, Just What Are Itty Bitty Cards?

Well, they're these, three inches by three inches, to be exact. I'm not sure where or how they originated, but likely as a variation on the popular Artist Trading Card (ATC) which is baseball card-size rectangular.
These pictured above are for an Itty Bitty Swap and project challenge by ARTchix Studio and our Yahoo group. The requirement was to use faux postage stamps from ARTchix, and since two of my faux pet post stamps were just published by ARTchix, of course I jumped right on this. I also used some of my "real" cat postage from, reasoning that I would spend more than 41 cents on other supplies or clip art anyway. These are a spoof on high-end designer purse ads for those non-fahionistas reading this.
ART chick Susan Burgess, aka Sanna, gives a great tutorial on itty bitty cards here: Very cool; she got me going!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Aren't Swaps Wonderful?

Here's a peek at some of the goodies from my mailbox. Thanks to Priscilla of for the awesome cottage! It is just too fine for words! The pink ornaments are from Bridie Murphy and CupcakeDD on the Pink Ornament Swap hosted by Chatdurouge on Flickr. The snowman ornaments are from the sweet Mary Izabella from the Snowman Swap hosted by And finally the adorable kitty altered domino is from Debora of Stars*Go*Blue. You can find her goodies here: What a great holiday haul.