Saturday, November 30, 2013


Hope you all had a festive Thanksgiving celebration with your family and friends.  I had such a great time with all of my children and their spouses and grandchildren joining us for a day of laughter, food and family bonding.  What a joy to have us all together!

And now we look forward to Christmas....just around the corner.  I am working at putting the autumn decorations away and decking the halls with bottle brush trees, silver balls, glitter, angels, and good cheer.  I love this time of year.

And to thank you all for your continued support of my artistic adventures, my Twisted Sistah DVD is now on SALE through Creative Workshops (click on the badge above for details) and my Etsy store....only $75. 
Perhaps it would be an item on your "Santa's Wishlist".

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Virgin No More

Art Camp Virgin No More

A little over a week ago I was surrounded with loving friends, making art every day, dining on delicious morsels of lovingly prepared food, walking the beach taking in nature's bounty, and filling my heart with laughter and rejuvenating my spirit….sound like heaven????  Yes, I was at Terri Brush's Art Camp in Lincoln City, Oregon.  
Ten of us friends all gathered in one beautiful beach house at Art Camp…..such giving souls.  Trick or Treat came early to this small town on the Oregon Coast as artfully designed totes, a collaborative between Diana Salvucci-Smith, Sandy Navarro and Vickie Orlando, were gifted to each person.  The totes were soon filled with gifties each one of us brought to share in celebration of our treasured friendships.  Diana Salvucci-Smith created the beautiful beach fairy necklace for each of us (see above). 

The three vacation homes you see above housed all the camp participants.  Ours was the sweet little blue house in the center.  Terri makes each guest feel so very special and pampered.  Look at the cute name tag that welcomed me on the door of my bedroom along with a Victoria Secret bag on the bed complete with delightfully scented body cream.  Thank you, Terri, everything was perfect!
A gathering of my art sisters in our little Blue House…Jan, Diana, Cindy, Charlene, Joy, Sandy, Vickie, Laurie, Lori,  Doreen and Kadee. 
We had the usual fun of taking photos of all of us.  Top photo of our host and instructors: (L to R) Terri Brush, Colleen MoodyNatalie Summers Hansen

Then we have a photo of Thelma and Louise who insisted hanging out with us and getting into all types of shenanigans.

Third photo:  Charlene, Me with the big nose, and Doreen….such fun. 

More fun!
Look at the fantastic projects we worked on during the three days.  The day spent with Terri was filled with playing with fire and solder making slider beads, soldered focals and wrapping it all up with leather cord….loved it!
For two glorious days we played with Colleen Moody in designing wonderful sculpted mystical creatures.  We played with paper clay, sculpted, sanded, painted, and dressed each creation with glee.
Fabulous witch's hats complete with lights were created in Natalie's class.  I have mine displayed on my kitchen table now with one of Colleen's little witches standing guard nearby.
 Look at the sampling above of the diverse creations that resulted from Colleen's class…..amazing!! (from L to R) Awesome vulture queen by Lisa….this piece was jaw-dropping amazing in person….really!!!; Diana Salvucci-Smith; Joy Campbell and on the bottom we have Miss Sandy Navarro and her sweet girl.
These are the woman who kept us fed with wonderful food, our houses well equipped with fresh linens every day and goodies.  Thank you to all.
Walks on the beach with friends, or in solitude, were very welcomed and so fulfilling and nurturing to me.

And of course we did our share of shopping.  We first all met in Portland at Monticello's for an amazing shopping spree and lunch. And then later at Art Camp, I purchased this fabulous doll(s) from Colleen.

This 4-day, little slice of heaven, respite was just what this girl needed.  If you haven't experienced Terri Brush's Art Camp yet, I encourage you to do so…..just the best gathering of art sisters ever!!

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Winner Is!!!!

Thank you all for participating in the Creative Workshops Blog Party.  Hope you had fun visiting all of the instructor's blogs and seeing all of the great classes they are offering at Creative Workshops.

I was thrilled with the response to my giveaway drawing.

I am happy to announce the winner of my "Twisted Sistah" on-line class.

*******Karen Matthews*******

Congratulations Karen!!   You will be contacted by Gail Schmidt of Creative Workshops regarding access to Twisted Sistah.  

Monday, September 23, 2013


 What a pleasure it has been to have my Twisted Sistah on-line class hosted by Creative Workshops for the past year.  The response has been fantastic.    Thank you to all of my students and to Gail of Creative Workshops.  Gail has been working non-stop for several months up-grading and moving the Creative Workshops  website.  There have been some amazing changes made as a result of the move that everyone is sure to benefit from…..including videos will now be available with iPad access….I am astatic about that one.   With the new dedicated website comes a store and blog.

 Here are the important links:

Creative Workshops is all about the mixed media art class experience: inspiring those with artistic yearnings, or imparting knowledge of a technique that is new to someone else, who hadn't thought of doing something quite that way. 

A few highlights about Creative Workshops:

  • *  Available online 24/7 to fit your schedule. You can watch videos as often as you want, when you want. AND ipad access! 
  • *  You get instant access with your receipt to any Open class you purchase. No waiting for us to send you an invitation, no more confusing membership to join.
  • *  All video content is available from the first day a class opens so you can work at your own pace. Doesn't matter if you are a turtle or a rabbit!
  • *  Once a class opens there is no take down date to worry about so no pressure to be done by a certain date. If a teacher must retire a class (very few do) we give you 6 months notice.
    Do you want to be kept abreast of all things Creative Workshops? Especially new classes (we're adding all the time) and teacher class sales? We offer several choices to keep informed : newsletter subscription, blog subscription and Facebook.

To celebrate the opening of the new Creative Workshops website many of the teachers, including myself, are giving away a free class.  Nineteen instructors will take part in a…... 

Blog Hop Party taking place September 23-29.  The giveaway winners will be announced September 30.

Here's how it works….

 Anyone who wants a chance to win a free class must leave a comment on this post.  Then hop on over to each of the other instructors (links below) and leave a comment on their blog. The idea of the list is that you can follow the party trail from blog to blog, leaving a comment on each blog you visit, therefore, increasing your chances of wining a free class.  Every class giveaway will be different because the instructors are generously each giving away one of their own classes.   You have an opportunity to potentially win several free classes.

Please be sure to indicate your blog address or email in your comment so that the lucky winner can be contacted. 

Blog Party Instructors (click on the links below)

Good Luck everyone! Remember - leave a comment on this post to enter in the giveaway.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Summer of 2013 Chapter 2

Chapter 2 of my summer happenings…...August was all about Friends…… beginning with Charlene Gray's 2-month visit to the central coast of California.  Charlene and I together with my friend, Susan, enjoyed a wonderful day in Santa Barbara taking in the Gem Faire and the wonderful shops and food of downtown.  

(Front:  Lynda Marcov; Me; Diana Salvucci-Smith; and Vickie Orlando.  Back: Charlene Gray and Sandy Navarro)

Next was our Girls' Art Retreat. See us above at Lynda Marcov's grand opening of her Willow Nest boutique in San Luis Obispo….a must see if you come this way.  We all gathered in my home studio for 4 glorious days sharing and creating.  We each took turns sharing an art project of our choosing.

First was my project … .we dabbled in bronze clay, etching, Gilder's Paste, cold joining and resin clay with the focus on creating a cuff.   Above Charlene is refining her dried piece preparing it to be fired.

Vickie is patiently appliquéing her pieces together….doesn't Vickie look beautiful…complete with silk blouse and beautiful jewelry….now this is designing with style!

Our completed cuffs. (Vickie and Susan were still working on their pieces at the time photos were taken…boo too they are not included.)

Diana Salvucci-Smith

Charlene Gray

Sandy Navarro


What fun it was to see all of our individual personalities reflected in our pieces.  There were definitely some challenges along the way in this process but it was worth it.  I think part of the reward of designing is having the sense of accomplishment upon completion;  opening oneself up to change and spontaneity, and learning through trouble shooting. 

For the next two days, Vickie tutored us in the process of making these astonishing santos dolls using techniques she learned from Susan Bates Bezek along with her own.  Wow this was a fun project.  Thank you so much, Vickie, for all of the time and attention to detail you poured into those two days.  We all experiemented with different paints, crackles, stains, painting techniques, decoupaging, stamping; sewing, stuffing and all of the fine details that went into dressing each one.  I loved how they turned out in all of their finery.
(Sandy gifted me with this beautiful crown….I am so lucky!)

Take note of the crowns!!!  Yes we made those as well….taking our lead from the French General's Petite Beaded Crown tutorial….check it out on their site, and Sandy's one-on-one instruction.

Next, Sandy instructed us on the construction of these opulent, antique chandy cyrstal necklaces.  Simply stunning in person.  Thank you Sandy!

On the evening of the 4th day we all sat around in a circle in my studio as Diana Salvucci-Smith went over with us her techniques in creating the amazing art doll you see above.  We had all hoped to have time to take on that project as well, however, by this time we were completely saturated with art having gone full out from about 9:30 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m. every day.  Oh my it was creating heaven.  All of us decided that this would be a project for our next Art Girls' Retreat.  

I have also spent some time in my studio designing pieces for a few shops including Willow Nest.  Here are a few pieces that are available there and at Willow Nest's booth at Marburger at Round Top for those of you in Texas:


Kim Caldwell Birthday Celebration

I finally had the opportunity to meet Kim Caldwell of Artistic Bliss Designs, when she and several of her friends dropped by the other day for a studio and home tour.  Such a pleasure to be included in her birthday celebration festivities.     For those of you who may not know Kim, I encourage you to visit her blog to garner the depth of her talent and activities.  From what I understand, the art events that she organizes and offers in So. Cal are over-the-top in every way.    A must see and do!

Maija and Julie

Some of Kim's friends celebrating with her for the extended weekend. 

Kim, Terry, Andrea and Cheryl
(sorry I don't have a photo of Mariasela and Sylvia)
Thank you, Andrea, for inviting me to be part of your special weekend.


Now I am gathering supplies for my first Terri Brush Fall Art Camp in Lincoln City, Oregon.  I am going with a large group of my art sisters and am so looking forward to it.  Today I went to a local swap meet, taking the chance that I just might be able to find antique linens and laces for one of the Art Camp projects.  Usually I don't find much at our little swap meet.  Today was different.  OMG  I scored.  Out of all of the vendors, just one had antique treasures.  Above is just a sampling of the pieces I purchased ….early 1900's blouses with wonderful trims and laces; handmade doilies and tatting; vintage pearls from about the 40's; buttons and a framed photo that grabbed my heart.
JoAnna Pierotti apron

And something I have been looking for for a very long time for my manny Chloe….a vintage bustier… stock…fits her perfect (with a little help from trusty tissue paper….reminds me of junior high when tissue became my friend….hee, hee)   Now she can go out dancing.  

   As you can see this summer has been all about friends for me….so nurturing, so rewarding, so magical.

Wishing you all a bit of magic in your lives!!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Summer of 2013 Chapter 1

Olive would like to welcome you to our home here on the charming central coast of California.  My summer has been crazy fun with friends, art and home improvements. Let me share what I have been up to….hopefully I won't bore you with a volume of photos….they will speak greater than a lot of words. 

My husband, Olive and I live in a humble home about 60 years old.  For the last many years I have wanted to do almost a total revamp of my decor, work on repairs and renovations.  We finally decided to take the plunge about 5 months ago and do just that.
Through a friend, we found a fabulous contractor who became a part of our family for about 2 months as he and his associate tore out cottage cheese ceilings, painted, updated baseboards, replaced all interior doors, completely replaced a bathroom, laid new flooring, and painted, painted painted.  

And I just couldn't just stop at the renovations, oh no….I visualized a entire new decor as well.  Since dabbling in the mixed media world, I have religated all of my art supplies, creations and pieces of art to my studio. That was going to change…. I wanted to surround myself with these little beauties throughout my home to be constant inspiration and joy.  My home had not reflected my heart and style for a number of years.  It is amazing how we change isn't it…..our likes, dislikes.  I no longer enjoyed things that I liked in the 70's!!!    My love of soft, peaceful neutrals and texture; nostalgic and forgotten objects;  shabby chic/ cottage and Parisian chic now greet me everyday. 

During the last several months I have spent my time hunting for new antique pieces of furniture and decor; the perfect shades of paint to apply to the walls; selecting new sinks, faucets, baseboard, flooring, light fixtures, etc.  I have painted numerous pieces of furniture and played with stencils, architectural elements and paints.  I have gone through every single closet and drawer and purged everything we no longer use or need.  What a freeing experience it has been as well as a fulfilling renewal. To live more simply and to unclutter my environment has enriched both my relationship with my home and internal self.  Does that make sense to you?  I am more at peace.

Welcome!  Let me share a few changes we did here in our living room.  The wall behind the sofa was paneling (you know from the 70's).  My husband finally gave me his approval to paint it (it only took 33 years) and what a difference it made in brightening up the room.  I purchased a Christy Repasy painting as the focal for that room.  In my home redo I transferred a lot of furniture and wall decor to different rooms which changed things up tremendously as well.  We painted our brick fireplace white which also brightened the room.  Exchanging white pillows for the darker green ones on the sofa and using antique lace as a skirt added to the shabby chicness I love.

Jeanne d'Arc Magazines and books gave me a lot of ideas.

I am limited as far as antique stores are concerned in my area and found a lot of my new treasures on Etsy like this fabulous antique Italian lamp with original silk shade and porcelain roses ….that pick up the flavor of the Christy Repasy painting above.  And those of you who know me know I LOVE JoAnna Pierotti's art and am so blessed to own several of her creations.  They now greet me in almost every room….love this sweet doll.

JoAnna, love, love this piece!

Love texture!

Dark shelves and picture frames were painted with coats of fresh white paint…and art supplies now lay on display in crystal jars and silver trays.  No longer does my mother's crystal and sterling silver stay secluded in closets never to see the light of day.  They now grace me and bless me as I can visually enjoy them every single day.  

Favorite treasures were given reverence under glass.  This darling Royal Doulton angel was given to me  by my mother when I became engaged to my son's father….her mother gave it to her when she announced her engagement to my father. Got to love Traditions!

Supplies that usually remain hidden in containers in my studio, now sparkle in new collages of texture and yumminess.  Now when I am designing in my studio, I must take a cruise throughout my home gleaning the inspiration I need. 

One of my latest creations….more about her in a later chapter.

Two more of JoAnna's dolls…showcased on a collaged piece of canvas with antique hardware surrounded by stunning old frames. 

A repurposed metal tool box embellished with forged iron legs and  crown now resides in a nook in my dining room.  This box was designed by the talented Ludmil Marcov of Willow Nest.  I, of course, had to adorn it with bling and touch of softness.

 The Vintaj Guest Room

Antique linens no longer hide out in the linen closet but are out for everyone to enjoy and touch. An old wooden drawer coveting Miriam Haskell pearls and strands of antique beads become part of this room's nostalgic decor.

Old, tired paint brushes  have taken on a new life as they have become pieces of art graced with torn strips of silk fabric and rhinestone buttons.

A child's antique garment hangs on the linen draped closet.

Wonderful hand work is displayed on a sweet 1800's night shirt.

Welcome to The Rose Room.

I have fallen in love with charming, antique statuary….can you tell?

My husband and I refinished this antique armoire a few years ago.  

Margaret's Room (My room named after my mother)

Painting a 1920's nightstand and highboy dresser was my biggest job in my room in addition to shopping and finding all of the romantic elements I wanted to fill this room.  Refinishing the furniture took about a week to sand, prime, paint, stencil and sand again.  I was very pleased with the results.  Loved using Martha Stewart's stencils.  The Dicken's plaques were also an addition.

The details in these pieces are amazing….such sweet feet don't you think?

My dresser

My grandmother on her wedding day.

Hand stitching a pillow for my new antique wicker chair was also among my decorating pleasures.  Finally all of those fine pieces of old laces, linen handkerchiefs, millinery and bling can be appreciated.

Love me antique chalkware statues and Syroco pieces.  The paint I used in this room is "Station Flat" found at Sherwin Williams…a great neutral option.

Several years ago my hubby gifted me with a full length mirror which I no longer cared for the style.  Not wanting to get rid of it, I gave it a facelift.  This mirror was stained in a dark oak.  I began by applying an ornate architectural element I found at the Architectural Depot store on line.  It is wood and I adhered it with Quik Dap (found in your hardware store).  Then I started experimenting  equipped with gold spray paint, white and raw umber acrylic paints, stencils and baby wipes.  As soon as I sprayed the gold paint, I went to town removing it here and there with the wipes.  And did the same with the white and raw umber paint until I achieved the patinaed look I wanted.  The beautiful Art Deco rhinestone dress clip was given to me by my friend, Diane Cook.

My bathroom was completely torn out … it is difficult to really appreciate what we did.  All of the wood you see was dark….it was painted white.  I draped a lace panel across the window to diffuse and soften the light.  Sterling silver tea pots became planters for my white phaleanopsis orchids. 

An orate, antique Parisian metal shelf now graces one wall along with a pedestal sink.


A cozy farmhouse style table and chairs now fill my little kitchen. It took several coats of white paint to cover up the bright colors the chairs were painted in a past life. Together with the white paint and black stencil touches, the Parisian flavor I was yearning for was accomplished.  (Thank you Charlene for giving me the idea for all of the black touches)  A sweet antique table lamp from Paris adds that intimate ambiance.  During my search for old lace tablecloths, I learned to truly appreciate the workmanship in the Quaker Lace cloths ….so beautiful and easy to care for.

I will leave you now with a little something to ponder….for those of you who are still with me. … A thought that greets me every morning as I enter my kitchen.

 I hope that by sharing my home redo…I was perhaps able to share a few techniques and ways to make inexpensive changes and updates in your home.  I love my home now, it fits me, it reflects who I am in this moment, it embraces and nurtures me.

Stay tuned for Chapter 2 of my Summer happenings.