Thursday, January 31, 2008

Now Available in Hard Cover, or Soft Cover, Written by Zoe Aarden, Edited by Me

No, I'm not on the wrong blog- although this is also posted on my Blythe blog, Blythe-O-Mania Untamed at the above falls squarely under art and letters for me. You see, on page five of the hard-cover book above (or soft-cover, your choice) , my bio is featured with the lovely title of "editor." Now that's enough to make any journalism grad's heart go pitter-patter, but add to that my love of crochet and all things Blythe, and I am in seventh heaven right now!
I just ordered my own copy, and you can too, either from Blurb or on ebay. Here are a couple of links: or I have tried the hat pattern several times, and there are 21 other yummy crochet patterns. There are lots of great color photos and great Blythe settings. Congrats to author and photographer Zoe Aarden and her fantabulous editor, oh, eek! that's me!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Valentine's Swapping Busy-ness

Valentine's Day is such a perfect time for swapping with art friends! First of all, so many of us like pink, glitter, foo-foo, frou-frou, lace, sequins and anything else girly and over-the-top, and for this event we can really pile it on. Victorian images are also appropriate, as are children, animals, fairies, hearts, angels and more.
So it was no stretch to complete a dozen valentine ATCs for ATC World on Yahoo! There are six 'My Funny Valentine' cards and six "Vintage Valentine Collage' cards. Then, I made three embellished dresses for The Faerie Zine Vintage Valentine Swap, and the jar fairy is my January contribution to the Shabby Cottage Studio Design Team assignment, using a collage sheet from SCS for the clown/cupid/fairy inside. Everyone needs at least one captured fairy. Don't worry; they don't mind being captured. Some images above by me and thanks to the following for other images: Shabby Cottage Studio, Paula's Kit Club, Sea Dream Studio, Stampington templates, spark*your*imagination, and the late Murphy L. Smith. Can't wait to get my swap exchanges back!

New Technique, New WIP

This might look kind of child-like; not sure what I think about it yet. It is a new technique I am practicing from Karen Michel's Complete Guide to Altered Imagery, the January ZNE Book Club study material. This technique involved painting and collaging on gessoed newspaper and using a magazine photo or actual photo to blend into the piece. It was fun, but I don't like my lines, so I just keep messing with it. The leafy scene was also to depict the renga below that I participated in for the ZNE Artists and Poets group.
Foliage falls in a fiery ballet
around me now, around me now.
I surround myself in my cocoon,
safe in the silence.
Alas, Epiphany's voice calls to join in the Autumnal dance.
More about renga style, a second renga and other works of art from the participating poets can be found at ZNE Artists and Poets

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Faerie Zine Volume 4!

You may not immediately see my name on the front page twice, but of course it jumped out at me like a jack-in-the-box. So excited to be a part of Lisa's wonderful publications! I knew I was writing an article, of course (about the wonderful Jade Adams, a Michigan ATC friend), but I didn't know Lisa was writing about me! What a treat! Can't wait to get my hands on it in about three weeks. You can order a copy on ebay or on the Moonfaires blogspot or The Faerie Zine website. And you should!

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Blog Heard 'Round the World

Okay, well France is around the world, right? A Flickr observer messaged me in French to ask if he/she could put my Mona Lisa card above on her blog. So, naturally, I was delighted and was able to suss out what was being asked, and peck out a passable "tres bien, merci." So, a little college French finally pays off after how many years?
Turns out the blog is dedicated to Mona-philes who alter art with the famed one's face. A quick visit to will turn up Mona in The Scream, The Kiss, cross-eyed, well-endowed, smoking, biker chick and much more.
My card even got a couple of comments, which I had to resort to Google translate. Apparently, one reader thought Mona looked a little sad for a greeting card. Apparently, some people believe Mona can have different expressions- what a concept!
In any event, Mona also has her US followers, with a Flickr group dedicated to "jocondophiles" as well. A trip to, to which I already belonged, will give you Mona as E.T. (my new fave), Mona as Robocop and Mona as a Bond girl. The group's current contest is to place Mona squarely in the middle of Mardi Gras. This happens to work well for me, since I am hostessing a fat book page swap for Chubbyville in February with the Mardi Gras theme. So Mona will get a workout. Hmmmm....Mona in Flashdance....yet another idea. Poor girl! Was she smiling or smirking?
By the way, my card was made by stamping a Tim Holtz image of Mona onto a transparency and affixing that with brads to a piece of background paper with another piece of paper with the word "create" and typewriter key stickers to spell "art." Merci beaucoup.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I Paid for A Yodel, and You Should, Too.

The picture above is one I took of a cookbook I've had for about five years. I don't know that I've ever made anything from this book, but I have sat down more than once to pour over the photos and read the essays.
You see, the author, the late Elizabeth Coblentz, wrote from her home near Berne, IN, not so far from me and a place I travel to frequently for work. Most amazingly, Elizabeth wrote this cookbook as an Old Order Amish grandmother, with no indoor plumbing or electricity for starters. That certainly did not dampen her abilities in the kitchen nor did it stop her from writing a weekly newspaper column for many years.
Today, more than 15 years later, that column is carried on by Elizabeth's daughter, Lovina Eicher, and is syndicated in hundreds of newspapers. It is a column I look forward to weekly in my local paper, The Warsaw Times-Union.
To make the story even more rich, the cookbook - one of many in a series now- and the column were "cooked" up in 2001 by a then-high school senior, Kevin Williams, the founder of Oasis Newsfeatures, Inc., who was doing a school paper on the Amish.

So where does the yodeling fit in? In this week's column, editor Williams directed readers to his site for an opportunity to hear an audio-only recording of the Eicher family yodeling. Naturally, I had to tune in. Williams was criticized for charging a fee for the download- which is temporary to respect Amish practices. It will expire and downloads will no longer work after Jan. 31. Pffft, I say to any criticism. If one or one's teenage offspring will pay to download unintelligible rap lyrics, one can pay to download yodeling. Enough on that.

Williams explains: "Yodeling is a distinctive form of singing with rich roots in European culture. In the United States, yodeling is becoming increasingly rare, slowly vanishing in today's increasingly modern society. Among the Old Order Amish yodeling was never widespread. Most Amish have Germanic roots where yodeling was never a common cultural emblem. A few Amish churches, however, have distinctly Swiss roots (Sugarcreek, Ohio: Adams County, Indiana; and Webster County, Missouri). The Amish in these communities speak a slightly different dialect, a Swiss Bernese German. And among these Swiss Amish, yodeling was brought over to the New World. Even today in these small enclaves of Amish, the tradition of yodeling still persists."

You can click the link above to go to the site to register to read the weekly column and/or listen to the yodeling. In this time of listening to so much bad news and tempting tax proposals, the yodeling was a welcome treat. It is only about three minutes and includes a solo by Lovina's husband Joe and a duet with Joe and Lovina. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Word Candy? There IS Such a Thing!

I'm usually talking about eye candy all the time, oohing and ahhing over the latest creations of my artsy friends. Still can't get over the beautiful eye candy below in the Valentine heart box of supplies swap. With 50 or so people swapping heart boxes, one has to remember all the actual candy 'candy' that had to be consumed to empty those boxes. Tough work, but someone had to do it!

So today, in another calorie-free repaste, I can share with you some awesome Word Candy: a new blog launches today at I am thrilled to say I am connected to this wonderful project, not only by being a member of ZNE, but by being a member of the ZNE Art and Poetry sub-group and by my usual 'pick-me, pick-me!' volunteerism which now has me helping to moderate the blog.

Each week I'll be uploading a finished group poem from the ZNE Verses project, a line-at-a-time effort open to more than 600 ZNE members on our network. ZNE actually has about 1,200 members worldwide, but not everyone is active on the private network we have on Ning. Most poems will also have one or more pieces of artwork with them, as well as some will have soundtracks selected by members. It's just a beautiful collaboration!

On top of this, the blog serves as the showcase for the individual poetry efforts of the sub-group as well as any ZNE member. So, it truly is word candy! Our next group project, a Renga, will be posted shortly. The talented artist and poet Jodi Barone heads up this project. We are guided by the fearless leader of ZNE, Chelise Hery, a multi-blogger, artist and poet in her own right/write.

Here's our first ZNE Verse of 2008, but you'll have to head on over to to see the finished artwork and music. Please do.

She Dreams in Color


So scared of the words with the sharpest edges,
construed meaning that has me standing on proverbial ledges.
Seeking the way across the endless abyss of dreams,
language fails me, a misspoken word derails me, so, instead I'll turn to the images from which my psyche streams.
In my mirror, the words swirl about my face causing an ethereal tattoo, ever changing yet remaining the same.
I close my eyes to it and again wonder if I am to blame.
To all that has been said, I will answer in blood red and cry in cerulean blue.

I dream of a spirit who dances in the air around me, she whisperswho is blaming who?
Thoughts still linger like salt on an open wound,
knowing I must finish the colors of my life, only to sleep and fall back into the abyss of dreams and wonder again, who is blaming who?

Shadows appear in the midst of light,
and then I look, and look again, and seethe clear bright light of truth shine out from me.
I am left to interpret words unspoken under a January moon.
My soul seeks the light, that I may emerge strong and new,
singing songs of life, a new celestial tune.

The necessary brush strokes now completed, I sing beneath a ghostly moon.The stars above sing with me, many and yet few.Again the sleep will come, and I will paint my life anew.


She dreams at night in color and paints in black and white,
shelter for the vivid thoughts her brush is compelled to write.
She lives her real life in her dreams.
The myriad of colors in her soul long to find the light;
A rainbow of colors guides the night.
Rich reds, deep purples, shades of green and aureolin blue dance in sharp contrast
to what her soul knows to be true.
In her hands, colors are woven together in patterns rich with hope:red splashes of passion, of longing and dreams.
Yet she wakes and finds her world is still black and white.
She asks, “Gatekeeper, gatekeeper, guardian of my dreams, pleaselet me pass further into the life that bubbles in the tree's vibrant greens.Why must I sleep?All of life is a dream?”
In time she will complete the canvas of her life.But for now, she dreams in color and wakes to black and white.


Digging through the rubble of the past,swept into a still pile in a far corner of my mind,
I see the light where I was once blind.
Trying to dust away the cobwebs of what once was,
I find the remnants of forgotten momentsshining under the grime, worth saving;
their lives have touched mine.
Gathering these precious memories, I smileas they sink into the cool depths of my soul:healing the hurts they find there,bringing peace and the promise of joy to come,dancing in the slowly rising sun.
Continuing the housekeeping of my spirit,I know contentment will come,the ebb and flow of my very essenceto evolve, never ending.

By ZNE Members in order: Gina Smith, Chelise Hery, Cathy Minerva, Niki Ginder, Jodi Barone, Heidi Eberle, June Sanders, Allison Berringer, Marion Barnett, Laurie Blau-Marshall, Donna Cook, Kathryn Virello.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sharing the Love

The 45 Days of My St. Valentine's

Valentine's actually started around here more than 45 days ago, but I'll just count from here as that is when I received the gorgeous, luscious, delicious, wonderful, enchanting, adjective-laden box (very top 5 photos) from Andrea Hamilton in MN, my partner in Kari Ramstron's "Artsymama's For the Love of Supplies Valentine Swap." I was so eager to sign up for this after the holidays, and lucky to get in, as the waterfall of signer-uppers caused Kari to have to close the swap early. Heck, Heather Simpson-Bluhm's Hippity Hop Easter Swap closed the day I saw the announcement, and I was Johnettie-on-the-spot, I thought.
Anyway, I truly think I got the best deal, best swap, best partner! Thank-you, Andrea! This was her first swap- unbelievable!. Look how thoughtful- she sent a sweater for my Blythes, with the coolest bottlecap pin. The lid was so cool, with the nametag and Betty Boop earrings that I could not even open the box until someone, anyone, came home to help me enjoy the process. I should have just invited the mailman in, but we all know what that leads to, and besides, I have a mail lady.
So, back to this box: oodles of embellishments and supplies, two postage stamps I've never seen before of dolls (and I like both stamps and dolls), vintage jewelry, gorgeous lace and ribbons. I don't know how I'll be able to use any of it.
Meanwhile, the bottom three photos are what I sent to Andrea, using a lot of Love, Elsie! products from KI Memories. I also enclosed a lot of similar things, so it is almost eerily funny how we like a lot of the same things. Thank you again! I will definitely be celebrating V-Swap Day from now until February 14.

A Really Meaningful Compliment!

Ms. Laurie, of the very same Loud Life fame who sent me the fun art/name generator below, and whose blog and work and comments definitely make my day, sent my this cheery award.
Why is it so special? Because most nights I sit here uploading and typing as fast as my fingers will fly, and when I get done, I always have that momentary (or longer) dorky, insecure feeling. And heck, I don't even post anything very personal at all. But, I always feel a little bit like a weirdo, writing along as if someone were listening. Well, Laurie is! And I thank her! And actually, I am blessed to know I have several blog friends who visit here regularly and leave the nicest comments here and/or on my Blythe blog Laurie, not a Blythe-r herself, even sent me a link to a darling dress on etsy. So thoughtful! Blog friends truly are the best. The posts above and below are just more evidence of this.
Speaking of blogs and post, on Tuesday 1-15-08, the ZNE Artists and Poets blog goes public at (more on that later). I've become involved in this as not only a ZNE member, but as a blog/poet member and also the coordinator of an internal ZNE project for group poetry, ZNE Verses, whose finished works will be posted on the new blog. We've already created a beautiful monster, so mark your calendar to stop by and see.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

You Make My Day, and You and You and You!

I got this sweet award from Chel and was truly surprised and honored to be among her listings, especially when there were two other Ginas! Spreading the love, one is supposed to send this on to 10 people who make one's day (that would be my day now!)

Well, the first person I thought of is Ms. Chel, because as the Queen of ZNE she juggle multiple blogs and keeps hundreds of artists happy and questions answered. I know I account for about seven gazillion email questions myself. But the award came from her, so moving on...

The next person I thought of was Kat of, who just handled a lovely etsy transaction for me today on special alert, but you see, Chel's award came from Kat. What can I say? We ZNErs love each other. So I must spread the love further.

1. Michelle of Hold Dear who not only has become a blog friend and Mermaid Swap organizer extraordinaire, she is now my Somerset Sister/Sista/Seester.

2. Kari of for her beautiful eye candy and wonderful swaps.

3. Gail of because she's the boss of me.

4. Kris of because she's just so dang nice and talented. And she was an early supporter.

5. Laurie of because she's so thoughtful. She sent me the art/name generator thingy pictured here.

6. Miss Vicky of because she is cool, she "gets" it and she's a fun and generous swapper and Re-menter mentor.

7. Dale of sweet and sassy and full of glitter!

8. Jodi of, a new poetry friend.

9. Angela of, a soul sister.

10. Joyce, a new art/Blythe friend at

Consider yourselves duly awarded and take this award and pass it on. Thanks Chel!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

How I Became Mrs Clooney

How I Became Mrs Clooney
Originally uploaded by Stars*Go*Blue
A dear digital alteration from my friend Debora at Stars*Go*Blue, talented artist (obvy!), Flickr-er, ZNE-r, etsy-er and all around nice person! Check her out. We traded: her artwork for my snow! I definitely got the better deal. Original vintage photo from another Flickr-er and ZNE-r, Art by Chrysti, of The Altered Abbey. Check out both ladies. Must go now. George is waiting....

Happy Chinese-y, I Mean Cheesy New Year!

Just a little ridiculous humor for my Artists of Chubbyville on Yahoo- All Originals January page swap with the theme "Year of the Rat." It made the home page here:
I was having trouble getting an idea until I saw the picture below, as I much prefer cats to rats. And certainly cheese rates right up there with cats. I understand our hostess this month was born in the Year of the Rat and likes rats, and apparently fostered one, although I don't know that story. I hope she will find humor in my page. Don't want to be sent packing from Chubbyville! Chubbyville is part of altered artists on-line and deals with 4 x 4 pages for fat books. I am about to bind all my pages for 2007, and will have to post pages of my first fat book soon! It also happens that I participate in 4 x 4 Friday, which is a weekly challenge to make art that is 4 x 4, so sometimes my pages can do double duty for that!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy Mouse Year!

Happy Mouse Year!
Originally uploaded by salala817
It's The Year of the Rat in Chinese New Year calendar lore. Rat? Did someone say rat? Yum yum says this little guy lurking around in disguise.