Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Writing Someone Elses' Story

Day 1 Utah visit continued .....

Just breathing in the air in Utah was different.  I can't explain if it seemed cleaner, or if it was the different trees, or the higher altitude.... but I could breathe easily.

My dear friend BE had some things planned for me on our little adventure.  After lunch, our first stop was a visit to Ben the Potters' home studio.

While we were waiting for Ben to finish up with a customer, we just wondered around his home compound.  Everywhere you looked, there were pieces of him.... or his art.  The side of his garage was filled with fun and whimsical faces.  The posts holding up the pergola were filled with glass, pottery and interesting other things. It was a truly awesome place to soak it all in ... head, heart & hands.
A few minutes later, I got to meet Ben the potter, and Ben Behunin the author (one in the same.)  I have posted stories throughout the past few years about Ben (like he's my friend.)  Becky met him a few years ago... I'm not sure exactly how .... I'll have to find out.  He was local. She discovered he had a great story.  He made wonderful pottery.  And he wrote an amazing trilogy about Isaac.
For some wonderful reason, Becky thought that I would enjoy Ben's story.  So, she sent me Book 1, a ceramic mug and some Forget-Me-Not seeds.  When you read the book, you will see how they all intertwine.
I'm not sure which story I like better, the one of art imitating LIFE or the other one of LIFE imitating art.  Either or ..... I was hooked.  If you'd like to read more of Ben's storie(s) you can go here
He is a trained potter.  As a young man he developed a rare arthritis in his hands.  Not such a good illness for someone whose livelihood depended on the pottery he made.  During his illness, a story came to his mind and he couldn't write it fast enough.  He thought writing was impossible because he was not trained to write .... but the words and the story came to him.  And he wrote a book about Isaac the Potter .... and then another book and another.
His story continues.... after he published his first book and bought all of them himself to distribute, he doubted that anyone would buy, let alone read his book.  He was a potter, not an author.  One thing lead to another and he met people in many different walks of LIFE and his story got out. Someone recommended that he use magnetic bracelets to help 'heal' his hands.  He found titanium magnets worked for him and has been pain free for over 3 years.  And now being an author, he is once again a potter and much more ... all by the time he was 40.
Here is another link to a video about his home that he re-built...

I'd love to describe the books to you ... but there are excellent reviews on Goodreads here....
So, I got to meet Ben. 
He has a very firm handshake. 
We got to see where he creates. 
I got to buy 3 more books and two pieces of pottery.

While skimming through Put A Cherry on Top ~ The Secrets of Creating an Artful Life... I found a line that really resonated with me .... especially for 2014.  "...I have learned that opportunities abound for those who dwell in POSSIBILITIES."
And now I know for sure .... everyone has a story. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Moving in More Ways Than One

Day 1 of my trip to Utah.

I'm happy to admit that my flight to Utah was uneventful.

I think I was too excited about the whole trip ... I forgot to take more pictures, and was actually living in the moment as I experienced my trip.

This has been a staple picture in my travels.....

I've noticed a few other bloggers that I follow, have the 'foot' shot.  It is pretty common. 
Maybe it's the shoes I'm wearing, because I really like them.  Or I'm showing my travel Vera Bradley bag, or.... I don't know.  It's the beginning of my adventure.... wherever the first step takes me!
The best part of landing at the Utah airport besides the glimpses of the beautiful mountains, were the crowds of families waiting at the bottom of the arrival escalators. 
At first I was a bit confused. 
Obviously I knew they weren't there for me.... there were colorful helium balloon bundles, huge banners and colorful signs... there were parents and grandparents and new babies ... all chattering in tiny groups.  You could feel the excitement. What I was witnessing were families of LDS Missionaries waiting for their loved ones to arrive home from their Missions.  
Since my friend Becky lives in Utah and is a Mormon, I have learned a lot about her faith.  I am fascinated by the family strength and love of the Mormon members.  These families were patiently anticipating the arrival of their sons who had been away from home for 2 years and their daughters who had been away 18 months serving their missions.  While I stood by the conveyor belt waiting for my for my suitcase to arrive, I was able to watch 5 welcome home celebrations.  Cheers and applause errupted each time a missionary came into view.  It was very, very touching!
There was happiness in that airport. There was love. It made the beginning of my journey be joyful. What a great way to start my adventure.
All I had to do once I landed was take a step on to some moving stairs.  It is quite "possible" that you never know what can be down at the bottom of the escalator you get on!
Brighten Somone's Day!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Me & BE in SLC

Hello Friends.... are you still out there???

I've been on a self-made sabbatical.

I'm working on my Year of Possibilities ... and I actually was able to make another one happen.

So, I could say my Year of Possibilities is a small 'bucket list' of things to do before???? 

I have a very special friendship with Becky.  It's a bit complicated to explain, but it is a real nice 'thing'.  We met over 23 years ago while working in the same company in Racine.

She has always lived in Utah, and me? Well, since that time I have lived in Wisconsin, Tennessee,Wisconsin again and now Illinois.
In Wisconsin for a sales meeting, she missed a plane home one day, and stayed in my house for the night ... and we became Pen Pals. 
We contacted each other through snail mail for years .... talking about our new marriages and our babies.  Becky has older children, but we both have a boy and girl who were the same grades growing up.  So it seemed, we had a lot in common.  Across the miles we began sharing ideas and our love for crafts and making people happy. Along the way were many trials and jubilations of being moms, and the milestones in our children's lives.... potty training, school, dance, sports, driving, dating, grades, graduations, college planning ....  we shared, we connected!
Over the years with new technology, we dropped our pen and stationary and found new ways of communicating... via the computer.  And now one of our most advanced ways of staying in touch is texting and sending each other videos over our iPhone.
And one day, because it's my Year of POSSIBILITIES.... she invited me to visit her in Salt Lake City, and I was able to make it happen.
Talk about Brightening Someone's Day!!!
Stay tuned, (it's a tease) more to follow.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tag You're It

I had a little fun this past week on one of my days off!

I feel bad that I have limited time to write on my blog and 'show off'.  I used to be so diligent.  But I'm happy to say ... that LIFE has changed a bit, and a few things have to get rearranged.  And you know what?  That's OK!

I love a good deal, a bargain, a sale.... a steal! (Really not shop lifting)  but I was in another city last week and decided to check out their GWI (Goodwill).  It was a bit different than the one I work for.  And I found in the arts and crafts a few fun items that were priced just right!

This brand new TAG pad was 99c.  I loved all the papers and thought I could have fun with them.  So, I brought out my acrylic paints and stencils and other 'stuff', and started adding color.
I ended up painting 12 tags. 
While I waiting for each layer to dry I did much needed house work.  A load of laundry.  Vacuumed a room. Unloaded the dishwasher etc.... and then as my reward .... I went back to 'creating' another color or layer.
Mixed media.  Different colors, textures, hues, splotches.... random.
Not trying to create something here that is recognizable.... just adding color and leaving spaces open to see the base card. Pops of color to make a little whimsy.
Typed up some positive words that get mod podged to the tags.

Then, once all that is dry... added punched hearts, stars and flowers, buttons and finally ribbon.
I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do now, with those tags.  The are pretty big... 4" x 9".... where a 'regular' tag would be 2-1/2" x 3-1/2".  I could certainly add the tag as a 'card' for a wonderfully made creative greeting of some sort.... be it a crochet scarf, pack of note cards, or a cuff bracelet. 
You never know what kind of FuN MaiL might be coming your way!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Feeling the Love

My creative time has gotten shorter and shorter, but I still can't help myself... I NEED to be creative every day.

After a normal shift yesterday on a hot Friday afternoon, I came home, kicked off my shoes ... and saw some cut belts that I'm making into bracelet cuffs and had to start the painting process.  Just dipping my brush into the paint and making swirls and dots ... helped me relax. Well, it really made me giddy .... just thinking what I could turn the cuff's in to!!

Creating something is part of who I am.

Last week I was working on prdesigns creative greetings for my stash (I keep all kinds of greeting cards in labeled bins so that I have them on hand to give as gifts, mail out for special occasions, or if people want to purchase them)  and I decided that it's not hard to make two cards at once.... using the same papers, colors and themes, but then switching up the sentiments and the layout....

I actually had my paint brushes sitting in muddy water and my acrylic paints near by.... decided to doodle daisies on the front of craft cardstock.  Once dry, I made these two cards, one is a happy hello, and the other can be a happy, but thoughtful get well card.
And then by using thin paper scraps from another project I had laying around (I really must clean the piles in my craft room)  I was able to create these two cards. 
Banners and ribbons are being used every where in paper crafting.  The card base is pretty much the only difference between these to cards.
I was taking to heart the other day, when I read a comment about buy greeting cards from the dollar store.  A penny pincher was doing that.... because the recipient of the cards (gift) just toss them anyway!
And then I'm uplifted when many of my friends 'hoard' their cards, send them only on the most special occasions.... because they are too pretty!!! Or they even frame the card!  Such a compliment ... but I don't think I could create a lesser card just because the recipient will 'toss' it out with the wrapping paper.
Those who receive whimsy from creative greetings feel the love that is behind the crafting!! What a great feeling to accomplish that!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Cuff Bracelets

It's all about cute, whimsy and fun.... and of course, uniquely one of a kind!

I've created up-cycled belts into bracelet cuffs. 
And I have a few for sale.

All belt material is slightly used, with imperfections. 

Bracelets snap together to close.  Hand stamped positive sentiments are embedded into a metal plate, attached to the cuff with rivets. Other embellishments like lace, denim and fiber may be added.  Cuffs are painted with acrylic and sealed with Mod Podge.

Snaps on center at 7-3/4"
1-3/8" wide   white belt
Painted hearts - blue red tan
$18 includes shipping

#11 Be Brave
Snaps on center at 7-3/4"
1-1/2" wide    brown belt
Painted flowers - yellow pink
cream lace
$18 includes shipping

Snaps on center at 7-3/8"
1-3/8" wide   brown belt
Painted flowers - green blue cream
$18 includes shipping

#13 happiness
Snaps on center at 7-5/8"
7/8" wide    tan belt
Painted flowers - blue yellow tan
cream lace
$18 includes shipping


Snaps on center at 7-1/4"
1-3/8" wide    brown belt
Painted flowers - blue pink cream
$18 includes shipping

Snaps on center at 7-3/4"
7/8" wide    tan belt
Painted flowers -  purple blue tan
purple lace
$18 includes shipping

Snaps on center at 7-1/8"
7/8" wide    blue belt
Painted flowers - blues and green
$18 includes shipping

Snaps on center at 7-1/2"
7/8" wide    cream belt
Painted flowers -brown tan green
$18 includes shipping
I am an artisan, a crafter who loves to share my work.  I try my very best to create quality work. And I am my own boss.  I request payment (checks or cash) for items I create, up front and in full. Custom orders can be requested.... on sentiments and color schemes.  They may take a little longer depending on what materials I have on hand. All items mailed first class with USPS.
For further information, please contact me at

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Put a Cork in It!

You know, there are things that just make you go hmmm!

Or little things that make you laugh out loud.

Inside jokes.

Funny how you see a bunch of signs that you never saw before?

Since before we really started drinking wine, I had kept a few wine corks, even dated them with permanent markers on  the ones for an anniversary or a special occasion.  Then I started putting wine corks in a semi huge glass vase.

After our walk through a few wineries earlier this summer, I saw that there were special wine cork 'holders' being sold in the winery gift shop.  But for $28 bucks, I thought I could create something more cost efficient!

I couldn't find the materials I was looking for... but I did find the perfect gift for wine enthusiast or your cork-collecting friend.
After I found my great buy (which was 1/4th the cost of a new one) I was watching the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and he wrote a thank you note just for this cause...
Thank you people who save wine corks for basically saying, hey look, I'm a hoarder and an alcoholic.
25 DIY Wine Cork Craft Project Ideas
By the way, I am neither!!!!!
But now, someday and with Pinterest,  I have a ton of ideas what I eventually can do with all of those corks ...
Plus, the new cork holder looks cute, and that's what counts!


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