Saturday, February 28, 2015


I am writing this today, after somewhat of an emotional day spent remembering my Mother. She would have been 90 years old today. I dug out a bunch of old pictures of her from when I was a child, and when she was a young woman.  My mother was a kind, caring woman who always had a ready and contagious laugh, and was willing to always jump in to anything to have some fun.  Mother was a registered nurse and I fondly remember her starched "whites", with her hair up in that french twist she was famous for, and her cap starched and always adjusted "just so."  By the time I got to junior high school, Mother was into the craft industry in a big way and was both an Artex and Tri-Chem dealer. She was always creative, and could make a party for us kids on the spur of the moment, make costumes, teach us how to make decorations out of nothing, and she always, always was doing something for someone else.  Mother traveled with me on many, many trips all over the country, and I flew her to whereever I was on so many occasions I can't remember them all. We always had fun together. She was "game" for nearly anything. We loved our late night "pretty coffee" times out of my special Nippon teacup collection cups, taking care to select just that one special cup for the night. I miss her very much, but her spirit is with me each and every day, guiding me still with her firm, but gentle hand.  Thank you, Mother.  Keep smiling down on me and being my guardian angel.

Our prompt this week is to use your favorite quote.  I have a whole book of favorite quotes and sayings, and the one I used in tonight's spread is one of those.  This entire spread is dedicated to the memory of my mother.

Prepared in my large Dylusions journal, I spread Turquoise Dylusions Blendable Acrylic on with a cosmetic sponge, and it took surprisingly very little paint.  I then added the edge in London Blue, just making a sort-of wavy edge all the way around.  I used a circle stencil and put a little water on both sponges and placed here and there.  There was enough paint left in both the Turquoise & London Blue sponges (even using the paint quite sparingly) that I was able to create 3 other backgrounds with what was "left over" in both sponges .... and a bunch of paint on some mop up paper as well.

The edges were finished off with a black china marker and smudged with my fingers. This was tricky tonight. My hands are so dry from having the heat blaring for the last few days that I had to rub my face to get some kind of oil onto my finger tips. LOL.  I then used a black Staz On ink pad and stamped my Deep Red Water Droplets stamp indiscriminately around the page.

I cut a 4" circle, colored it with Holiday Blue Copic marker and hand lettered the quote with a .05 black Micron pen ... "Mother, you left us beautiful memories. Your love is still our guide. Although we cannot see you, you're always by our side." ~~ author unknown.  

The little rose bouquet was hand drawn with a .05 Micron pen and colored with copic marker and white sakura glaze pen.

The lettering on the adjacent page is my mother's name, her birth and death date.

I really didn't want to put anything else on the page or to clutter it up. Sometimes the most powerful expressions are the simplest.  I'm happy with it, and really, in the end, that's all that matters.  I think mother would have loved it.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Here are some other things I have been working on this week in an artistic vein. Sadly I have had a lot of administrative duties online and grown-up responsibilities to tend to this past week and didn't get much art time.  There's a new week coming, so I am hopeful!

I am trying to develop a little series of "dollies" to use in my journaling, art projects and to send in happy mail and art swaps to my creative friends.  These are still in the development stage, but thought I would share them with you anyway.

And some mail projects going out.......

Leave me some blog love in the comments section below. Go ahead, and make my day!  Go out and make it a great week, and stay artful!
~~ Betty

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Our prompt this week at Artful Journeys is to express something you find beautiful.

Beauty can be interpreted in many ways, with many meanings. There's the outward physical beauty of something, like a spectacular sunset, tinted with the hues of a rainbow; there's the innocent beauty of a child, both physical and emotional.  There are few things more beautiful to me than a field of giant sunflowers blooming in the hot Texas sun, with their bright faces turned toward a windswept sky, standing proud and tall.  Or flowers blooming in profusion along the side of the road.  I find beauty all around me, and in the oddest kind of places.

Today, I noticed a dead, fallen tree along the side of the road, with its branches all askew that formed the most interesting, and beautiful visage.  The beauty of a simple little ladybug, perched ever so-gently on a leaf, or the emerging splendor of a butterfly from its cocoon.  A stack of empty wooden frames causes an immediate vision in my mind of the beauty that exists in the wood, and what could have existed in those frames.  As artists, we see things with a different eye, a different perspective, and we interpret these things in a million different, splendid and captivating ways.

My interpretation today is in the form of inspirational beauty.  I am totally in love with quilts. Old, worn, cherished quilts handed down from one generation to another. Or beautifully crafted new quilts, seen with the artists' eye versus those of our ancestors who created these visions of loveliness out of a sense of need, rather than as decoration or pleasure.

Created in my large Dylusions journal, I wiped on some of Dyan Reavely's new Blendable Acrylic Paint in bright sunshine yellow with an ordinary paper towel.  Nothing fancy or complicated with that.  The paint goes on as smooth as butter, and blends like a dream (I played on some previous pages!).  Next, I gathered up a bunch of quilt images that I had been saving.  I find that I am continually inspired by quilt patterns.  I love the geometric shapes, the tiny stitches, the possibilities that those shapes generate in my brain.  The images were arranged in a fashion that I found pleasing, and I applied them with Liquitex fluid gel matte medium. I got a few wrinkles, but oh well!  I finished off the page with some faux stitching with a black Sharpie marker and added a little poem about quilts and families that is one of my favorites.  I messed up the first line (and had to look it up), but the poem goes.....

A family's like a patchwork quilt, with kindness gently sewn.
Each piece is an original, with beauty of its own.
With threads of warmth and happiness
It's tightly stitched together.
To last in love, throughout the years

A family is forever.

I hope you find some inspiration in the beauty all around us that is life.  Thanks for stopping by to look at my response to our prompt this week!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Artful Journeys - Week # 7 Mardi Gras


We're going to let the good times roll (translation) for upcoming Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) and in celebration of Carnivale.  Nothing is off limits, everything goes, be wild, be gaudy and have fun. That's what Mardi Gras is all about!

I have been to many Mardi Gras celebrations throughout the south during my lifetime, and of course the most raucous celebration here in the states I think happens in good ole 'Nawlins.  That would be New Or-leens to you folks living north of the Red River and the Mason-Dixon line. LOL.  I have a sizeable collection of beads, and many coveted King beads that I will neither admit nor deny to participating in debauchery to obtain.  What happens in "Nawlins" stays in "Nawlins."  And of course, that was a long, long time ago in my much younger (and wilder) days.  We don't talk about that now.

For this week's prompt at Artful Journeys, I prepared two very different things.  The first, a spread in my large Dylusions journal using assorted techniques and materials.  I scraped on a background of craft acrylic in Spring Green, Parakeet and Caterpillar.  Then I applied a thin coat of a heavy metallic gold acrylic paint that is super glittery.   While wet, I used my Soft Swirls background stamp by Stampin' Up to imprint some of the design into the paint.  Some of the paint lifted, but that's okay.  I knew I wasn't creating something to be "perfect" anyway.

I knew I wanted to somehow emulate the sensory overload that you go on when you attend a Mardi Gras celebration.  Especially in New Orleans.  Music is everywhere. Lights. Costumes. Confetti. Beads. Glitter. Wafting smells of food drifting out of restaurants and bistros into the streets.  Bazillions of people of every imaginable description, in every conceivable state of sobriety or intoxication.   To me, the entire city comes alive during Mardi Gras.

So I drew a kind of "explosion" spewing forth from the center, representing of course, the French Quarter, where all the fun happens and branching out all over the city and into the 'burbs.  I painted the bottom of this explosion with Purple Monster and Parakeet craft paint, several thin coats to get a deeper sense of the color.  Then I highlighted with a gold Signo Uniball pen.  Bits of "confetti" and music are represented by doodles, again with a black Signo Uniball pen and the confetti filled in with assorted acrylic paints.

I lettered "Laissez les bon temps roulette" (Let the good times roll) with Signo Uniball pens in black and white.

And here is the finished page.  The glittery parts really shine, and of course play havoc when trying to photograph under less-than-ideal circumstances in my kitchen, and at night.  I hope you enjoy it and that it brings a smile to you!

My second thing I made sits opposite the above page in my Dylusions journal on a similarly colored background, with Laissez les bon temps roulette, Mardi Gras & Fat Tuesday  written all around the edge of the page with black Signo Uniball pen.

I created a Mardi Gras mask!  I cut a mask template that I found online (here).  I don't have the exact link since I saved it years ago.  I dug out my big ole bag of decorative feathers and began applying them all over the mask I cut from some cardboard packaging I had saved (imagine that!!). 

 I added some flat jewel stones around the eyes and in the center.  I trimmed up the feathers at the nose area and slightly around the edges.  Always fun to find another creative outlet "just because".  I have many styles and types of Mardi Gras masks over the years, and I have to say working with these feathers is my least favorite. They are fussy. They fly everywhere. They are hard to get to stick down without jacking them up.  But it is another medium, and another thing to play with.  Can't beat that. We just move on to the next thing and will look back and laugh later.

So however you celebrate Mardi Gras, do it in style and with gusto.  You don't have to be of any particular religious persuasion to go out and have some fun.

Stay artful!