Mail Art Girls

Hey pals!!!  Thanks so much for all the Etsy love as of late!  You blew me away!  THANKS!  I've been in "re-entry" mode the past few days, having returned from the most amazing, once in a lifetime trip to Oaxaca, Mexico!  We (a group of ladies) stayed in the home of the lovely Lisa's....there are no words.  Not yet, anyway....I'm still processing!!!  So today, I've been sorting through and organizing photos, so I thought I'd share my "mail art girls". I sent these a while back to my sweet cousin and 2nd cousin....we were on a mail exchange kick for a bit, and you  But I'm glad a snapped a pic of these before I sent them off to their new homes....enjoy!  I love their message...stand in your own truth, friends!! More to come!

Hugging Art

Friend texting you a picture of herself hugging your art....that's a day maker!
Happy Hump Day friends!  I'll be off the grid for a little while....back again soon.

Gratitude Trees with my Friends from The Arc

Howdy!  I meant to share these with you so much sooner than now....but, here they are.  I met up with my friends at The Arc earlier this month, and we did an art project.  This time, we made Gratitude Trees.  They started off by sketching out their tree shape and landscape, and then filled those in with acrylics.  Then, the fun part!  We cut random leaf shapes from my assortment of colorful papers, and collaged them onto the canvas.  Some of us wrote things we are thankful for on the leaves to make them extra special!  I really love working with this group.  They are always so upbeat and positive, and make my heart happy!

My Glamorous Get Up

I came across the booth shots that my sweet friend Torri took for me not long ago.  She insisted that I jump into a couple photos for fun....and yes, this is my "get up" on a working day at home.....overalls hanging on by a thread, and a bandanna wrapped around my head.  Almost always, the hair is pulled back.....usually pigtails.  Yep, it's glamorous. Not.  But a very good life.

What the......

Working out my angst in the journal, regarding current events in this country.  UGH.  Double UGH.

Check out my art at Barnes and Noble!

Hi friends!  I hung a selection of artwork at our local (Cedar Rapids) Barnes and Noble last weekend!  Go check it out!  I would love to hear what your favorites are, as I'm branching out into some new territories.  It will be up the month of October!  CHEERS!!!

Weekend Shenanigans

Happy Tuesday morning!  How are you?  What's the weather like where you are?  Many of my friends and family members who suffer from allergies are really uncomfortable lately.  I've been sniffling a little bit too.  It's an ironic torture, because this is the time of year we want to be outside the MOST!  Sigh.  Oh well.  Here's what I've been up to the past few days.....
A snapshot of my booth on my front lawn...this one taken by me and my phone.

My sweet friend Torri stopped over on Friday with her camera, to take some good booth shots for me!  I've got these AWESOME mesh panels now, for hanging my artwork, and they are a a DREAM!  A dream, I tell you!  That's what I was lacking all those years.....a good way to display the wall art.  So, I hoping with her booth shot help, and some better shots of my current work, I'll be ready to apply for some art shows in the spring/summer of 2017!  Yippee!!!

Me, touching up the stars on our giant flutter-by!

Gae, putting her feet up and supervising.

In addition to running some errands and delivering some art to customers, I stopped over at Gae's shop and did some touching up on the butterfly wings.  There was one squirrely paint that I used that was different from the rest, it was the stars....and they faded.  (the butterfly is in a VERY sunny spot) So I jazzed them up again with some fresh paint.  I was rewarded with a truffle.....nothing wrong with that!

This is in our next door neighbor's front lawn.  That's my house...the yellow one on the right.  

Saturday night was our 10th-ish annual chili cook-off in the neighborhood.  Here's a pic of the festivities under's such a fun time!!!!  The winner who took home the coveted "silver" ladle (Oh yeah, there's a trophy, a ballet box and everything) was a KIDDO!!!!  Pretty awesome!!! 

Well, I'm off to bake some banana bread for tonight's journal junkie hang out!

Goodbye September

It's the end of September already???  WHAT?  I feel like it just WHIZZED RIGHT BY.  My mom warned me about this....that time flies by faster as you get older.  DANG.

On today's plate:  get some good booth shots, so I can attempt to enter some art shows in 2017!  A sweet, sweet friend is stopping by who knows a thing or two about photography....she's taking the pics for me.  I just need to set up my tent, and display my artwork on the front lawn before she gets here.  What's comical is there is a garage sale going on two houses down....I hope they don't get confused. HA!

Here is a journal spread I did earlier this week.  It didn't occur to me until today, that water and barriers have been on everyone's mind...and maybe that's what I was working out here. Good news....flooding in CR has been much, much less than anticipated.  We'll take it.  Happy Friday, friends.

Kind People Rock!

And here are my morning ramblings for today.....and I do mean ramblings. This "retirement" thing is funny.....and weird.....and I'm still finding my way, figuring out what the hell I'm doing.  On today's morning walk, with the pups, my thoughts drifted to how blessed and lucky I am.  I didn't come from a life of privilege, and I've worked my BUTT off most of my life, just to survive, and take care of my children.  I've overcome obstacles....several of them....over the years.  And my business managed to survive and then thrive in spite of them.  I really got used to the hectic, manic pace that was my life.  And now I get to sit back a bit.....and figure out what's next.

I'm delivering this painting to a customer today, Yay!

This is thanks to the GOOD, kind people in my life.  I'm blessed to have a good support system....friends who encourage and support me, neighbors to drink and laugh with, a husband who just keeps letting me be me.  It makes me want to be good person too.

Goodness encourages more goodness.  Kindness breeds more kindness.  Light and love will blur out the darkness and hate.  We have GOT to keep standing up for kindness and goodness.  What's next, who knows?  One foot in front of the other with an open heart will get me there, and I do believe this for sure.

More in the journal

What is it about the journal that is so freeing???  It's crazy, how "in the moment" and almost "zen-like" it is to layer and paint in the journal.  Perhaps it's the thought that it's just a page.  If I don't like harm done, just turn the page and move on.  So much less intimidating than a canvas you've spent good money on, right?

Here is another spread I worked on a couple days ago.  I've been trying to challenge myself by both limiting my palette, and covering up things that I love, in an effort to push past the attachment that holds me back.

In other news, our community has dodged a bullet, of sorts.  The Cedar didn't crest as high as predicted, and where it has flooded, the emergency temp walls are holding so far.  Heck yes!!!  Everyone is ready to get on with life around here.

Happy Hump Day, friends.

Moving my Hands in the Journal, waiting on the Cedar

Good morning friends!  Thought I would pop in, say "HEY" and share a couple pages in my journal from yesterday....which was an angsty day.  Our lovely city of Cedar Rapids is facing down another big flood.  2nd highest in the history of their keeping records....we are expecting the crest tonight, or early tomorrow morning. The good news is, we are much more prepared than the last time....2008, which was the worst on record, EVER.  So yeah, we are a little twitchy....but we're gonna make it.  Besides that, just the "climate" of this country is making me twitchy as well...and hopeless.  In which case all I can do is MOVE MY HANDS.  Add beauty and sweetness to the ugliness.  And wait.

P.S.  Our home is safe, thanks to those of you who have reached out.  The Patricks are a few of the lucky ones.  XOXO


So back in May.....I did these wings.  Did I tell you that?  May was my last month of running my store front in uptown Marion....I was winding things down...but my sweet friends Gae and Deane at The Chocolate Shop wanted me to leave behind a happy mark.  So we concocted the idea of butterfly wings that folks could pose in front of and have their picture taken. 

 Sweet, sweet Deane....he allowed me to sketch them on some large pieces of plywood, and he cut them out, sanded and primed them so I could do my thing.  On a joyous Sunday, rocking out to some awesome music, I banged out the colorful markings that would become this happy little landmark in Marion.

When I let Gae see them for the first time, she cried.  Which made me cry.  Which made us giggle, and realize that this was going to be a really, really good thing.  For all of us.  Gae has even started a Facebook if you are local, stop by, take a pic, and share it HERE.

"If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies."  -Anonymous

Find Your People

Greetings, earthlings!  I've been meaning to share a few words and photos about a little adventure I went on last weekend.  I drove to the fabulous Shelly Massey's art barn in Springboro, Ohio for some flower painting, and bonding with some amazing women!  Oh much goodness much kindness and openness and sweetness!  Shelly's art barn was such a warm, welcoming space, and the little town of Springboro itself was adorable! Speaking of adorable, Shelly's daughter Harper became my fast friend.  We hung out, she doodled in my journal, and we tattoo'd each other with paint pens!  These women, though....they are my peeps.  My peeps, I say!!!  

The definition of the word "retreat" is "to withdraw, the act of moving back."  And that's why retreats are so good for pull away from every day life for a while, and immerse ourselves in something new that challenges us or brings our senses to life again.

The girls and I: Shelly, me, Jessica, Jenny, Sarah and Mary

As a fellow creative, you are probably fully aware, we are a different animal.  Many people do not think or feel the way we do about things.  We see things differently....we handle ourselves differently.....and when you can spend time with like minded weirdos such as yourself, it fills the well back up!  

Works in progress, and lots of smiles!  The studio is a great space!

This group was just so easy to be with.  Such lovely ladies, each with their own unique journey in life...some things, so different about us, but so many, MANY things in common.  We laughed so much.  And we got right to the heart of matters as well.  (several late night "world saving" sessions)  Big shout out to Shelly's mother in law, Ruby, who prepared delicious food each morning for our breakfasts!  So wonderful!  

A night out for dinner with the girls!  

Oh yes, and of course, we painted....under Shelly's wonderful guidance!  Who doesn't LOVE a bursting bouquet of flowers???  So interesting how each of us had our own unique perspective, and you can tell whose is whose.  

Can you tell which one is mine?  I made a few finishing touches when I got home.

I believe I've made friends for life.  That is the most wonderful gift of all!!

Tough girls with temporary tats!  Me and Harper.

Shelly gave us each a cute little house. I made superheroes for everyone.

For info on Shelly and her retreats, click HERE.

Where has the summer gone?

Hello, hello!!!  How are you, friends???  Where has the summer gone???  I can't quite grasp that we are well into August feels like the summer just began.  Sigh.  It's been a summer of transition around here.  Getting used to a new routine (or lack of one, if I'm to be completely honest).  I am still working to find my "groove"....I want to get more done in a day...that's just who I am.  I know one thing for sure.....there's too much online dawdling.  I need to limit that. Less gawking at the phone, and mindlessly searching on the laptop. And less TV, more quiet.

In addition, much of our time and energy this summer has been spent on our youngest....our son is heading off to college next week.  Not "off" to college in the traditional he will be living at home....but still.  It's huge, and it's awesome.

The current goal I'm working towards is just MAKING.  Painting canvases, and making things.  I hope to have a body of work by later this fall that will make a nice display so I can get some new booth shots and photographs of work to be submitted for the 2017 show season. I think I'm ready to give a few shows a try. I'm also planning some adventures this fall, which I'll share more in depth later on.  I'm BUSTING out of my comfort zone, BIG TIME this year.  Oh my!!  Stay tuned!!!

We got back to hosting our Art Journal Junkies Hangout this month, at the Hiawatha Public Library...FUN!  Great to see all those ladies again, and we had some newbies join us as well!  We have committed to a few more gatherings before the end of the year.

One good habit I feel I've developed is "warming up" in my journal before moving on to the larger projects.  Some weird little faces have been popping up, in addition to some funny's a peek....

 I really love her.  I sketched her face on an old book page, collaged her into my book, and started painting!

My thoughts on the election coming up: "The best they had to offer?"

 This page was SO MUCH FUN!  Inspired by my class with Ardith Goodwin.

I'm obsessed with flowers lately too.  Unrealistic, weird ones are best...working on that.

Cheers, friends!  Until next time!!!  XOXO!

Thanks for the article, Marion Times!

Author Alyssa's adorable son in front of the wings

A great big giant smoochy thank you to Alyssa at the Marion Times for writing this FUN article about our butterfly wings!  What I love most about it is I think you captured the friendship that Gae and I share.  Gae, owner of The Chocolate Shop in Marion, and feels like a sister from another mister.  To read the full article, click HERE.  

Keep Me Safe, I'll Keep you Wild!

Hello friends!  Happy Monday!  Did you have a lovely weekend?  We sure did! We spent time with friends, got a few things done around the house, walked and snuggled with the pups.  I did some planting in the back yard.  We finally saw Finding Dory, the movie.  SO CUTE!  Baby Dory is ADORABLE!  Just look at her.......her little buggy sweet!

 I've been sprucing around the house too...and this is a canvas that I recently completed for the fireplace mantel......

When I saw the quote, I thought it summed up Lovin' Man and I to a tee!  A tee! I am always jumping into "great ideas", and he helps to keep me from self imploding.  Ha!  I knew we needed it in our home.  The canvas is actually a recycled ugly thing from the clearance section in Hobby Lobby!  A good thing to remember....keep your eye out for old/clearance/ugly pieces of art already on a canvas, or in a frame, and RECYCLE!  Thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army are great sources for ugly art in lovely, ornate frames.  Wishing you all a lovely day!  It's HOT here today, so I'm gonna stay in and PAINT!  WOO HOO!

XOXOXO My Painted Love Piano XOXOXO

One week ago today, it was a gorgeous day in downtown Cedar Rapids, and I completed my "love piano".  Every year, the Cedar Rapids Economic Alliance coordinates with local artists to provide colorful, artsy pianos up and down 3rd street, for passersby to enjoy through the summer.  This is my second year participating, and it's a blast!!!!  I give you...the "love piano."

I had trouble getting to sleep the night before, because I was running all of the ideas through my head....all the different themes/colors schemes I could use....but I kept coming back to a message of love.....and that we need more of it in this world.

It's interesting, working outside among the people in a busy downtown area. Friends stopped by to say hi....strangers meet your eye and smile.  A local homeless man told me this is the spot he likes to play, and he looked forward to seeing what I did with it.

When I told him the message I intended to put on the front of the piano, he said, "Amen to that."  

I left parts of the old beat up piano rough and dark and distressed.  It seemed the way to go this time....many people who stopped by said "how timely this message was," and "how much our world needs this message."  I couldn't agree more.    

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."  -MLK