Sunday, March 29, 2015


I love family.  I love my real family. I love my way-extended real family that I rarely get to see. I love my online family. I love my art family.  We form bonds with our real families as children and those bonds last a lifetime.  Bonds are formed through the years with friends and acquaintences, and some of these last a lifetime as well.  And believe it or not, you can form these kind of lasting relationships with people you meet and get to know online. I can only hope that those relationships last a lifetime as well.  We adopt some folks into the family as the years go along through close friendships and relationships.   These interpersonal relationships help to form who we are are adults and provide so much emotional support, and always when we need it.  And of course, you can't have those close relationships without a few waves once in a while, but over the course of time, little wounds are healed and that unconditional love always prevails.

How wonderful it is to know aunts, uncles, cousins, distant cousins and way-distant cousins.  There's that connection that binds us all together through common ancestors and relationships.  My familial roots run long and deep in the United States, and of those roots I am very proud.  And of course, being a 5th generation Texan, I know there is no better place than this place I call home.

So the last couple of days I have been thinking a lot about family.  My maternal side of the family is having their 96th annual reunion this summer and it is something I always look forward to.  I think I have only missed 1-2 in my 60 + (cough) years on this planet.  I was fortunate enough to know my maternal great grandmother for 18 years of my life.  She and my gr. grandfather came to Oklahoma in a covered wagon, and I learned a lot about life from her and all of her children.  Sadly, I never knew my gr. grandfather. He passed long before I was born, but all 6 of their children lived long and very productive and successful lives.  Seeing all my great aunts and uncles and cousins from all over the country was always a thrill and those times hold a very special place in my heart. This side of the family heralded fantastic longevity so we all benefited from the wisdom they tried so hard to teach us. We weren't always listening, but those stories, legends and antics remain with me today, and for that I am grateful.

So to honor family of all genres, I created this journal page.  The background is a fantastic napkin I received in happy mail from my friend Andie Mayr in Bischberg, Germany.  It was huge and reminded me of a patchwork quilt, so I knew I had to use it.  And this whole spread just kind of evolved around that napkin.  The napkin was cut to size and adhered to the page with Dina Wakely's Soft Gel Medium.

Years ago, my sister made a wonderful gift to me of this same poem that she hand lettered in beautiful calligraphy and adorned it with fun embellishments. It hangs in my bedroom all the time and is treasured by me on so many levels.  So I thought immediately of this poem and got busy creating my page.

The lettering was placed on 1/2" strips of watercolor paper and colored with Copic Marker in Maize. Lettering was done with a black Signo Uniball pen.

I hand painted the tree with Diane Reaveley's Blendable Acrylics in Black Marble, Cut Grass, Lime and Melted Chocolate, with just a touch of Lemon Zest.  I used some craft acrylic in medium grey and nutmeg brown for the highlights.

I used all these colors in the top of the trees to signify all the family, new, aging and in-between.  The fallen leaves obviously represent those that have crossed over but still guide us from the heavens.

I hope you like what I created.  Document your family memories in a creative or expressive way. It will warm your heart.

Ciao familia!

I'm keeping it artful!
~~ Betty

Saturday, March 28, 2015


The end of March is rapidly approaching and we are getting into the full swing of spring here in north Texas, while some parts of the country are still getting buried in snow.  While our spring weather down here can be quite tumultuous--changing sometimes from one hour to the next -- early signs of spring are all around us.  And talking about weather, many prayers are going out to the folks in Oklahoma who have recently suffered loss and damage by more tornadoes.  Those things are the bane of Oklahoma to be sure.  Tornado season doesn't officially begin until May 1st, but it seems mother nature has her own way of announcing spring, doesn't she?

 I love snapping pictures of the earth being "reborn" in the spring, and this is a lovely Redbud tree that has sprung to life in my brother's front yard this week. Sadly, the blooms don't last very long, but oh they are so glorious while they are here for us to enjoy.  And of course, if we get high winds or hail, that hastens the disappearance of those blooms, so we're enjoying them while they are here.

Weather. Spring.  It goes together like peanut butter and jelly.  This week at Artful Journeys, we are drawing on the weather for inspiration for our journal prompt.  We want you to push yourself to create something beautiful and magical, and inspired by the sky.


One of the most amazing weather phenomenons to me are the Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis.  Nothing is more striking, more beautiful, more amazing than those magical lights in the sky, when mother nature is putting on her own spectacular show of light and color in the northern hemisphere.  I would love to be where I could see for myself this mystical show live and in person, but sadly, this happens only in the winter time so it is likely not something I will get to witness in my lifetime.  We visited Alaska in the summer of 1994 and had an amazing journey.  I was sad a little bit knowing it was the wrong time of the year to take that in, but oh the other sights were definitely a feast for the eyes.

My "surprise" media this week is DRYER LINT.  Yup, good old fashioned dryer lint, straight off a load of white towels from my dryer. There it was.  This week's prompt was swirling in my head, and as I scraped that lint off the screen, I really looked at it.  Ding!  This would make fantastic clouds I thought to myself, and that is exactly what some of it became!

Sometimes you just have to look at ordinary things in extraordinary ways.  I have rarely seen images of the northern lights that were without some spectacular clouds and cloud formations.  So I knew I wanted to use this in some way. I carefully unrolled it and set it aside.

I gathered up these other supplies:  Helmar's adhesive glue; Apple Barrel acrylic in Admiral Blue (makes a fabulous night sky) and Medium Grey; Dina Wakely's Heavy Body acrylics in Lime, Turquoise and Violet, Dylusions Blendable Acrylics in Lime, Turquoise, & Magenta, DecoArt's Black Cat black,  a wedged cosmetic sponge and my trusty white Signo Uniball pen and my large Dylusions journal.  I also used a fan brush, a worn out 1" flat nylon bristle brush, a #6 pointed round sable, and a stiff 1/4" flat.

I applied a good basecoat of Admiral Blue using a palette knife, plastic card and some paper towels to the entire two page spread.  Looking at all that dark blue was really inspiring. It WAS a night sky. But of course, I had to apply more paint, more layers.  First, I played around with the lint.  Pulling, pushing twisting into shapes I thought were 'cloud-worthy' and affixed them to the page.  I then used a cosmetic sponge to apply all my other sky colors over and across both pages in thin layers, reapplying where I wanted more defined color.  I brought the color way down into the page. The original idea was that I would have a stream reflecting the lights, but it didn't quite work out that way in the end.

Once all that was good and dry, I started my silhouetted trees.  Getting trees to look something like real trees is a challenge for me, and as I said above, I used an assortment of brushes to get a fir and pine-like tree effect.  The hubs didn't think they looked like trees at all. What does he know? ha.  I "illuminated" a few of the trees with Medium Grey and my Uniball pen.

The poem "The Aurora Borealis" by David Venner I knew was going on this page somewhere. I love that poem.  It reads:

Tumultuous streams of glory gushed,
Ten thousand thousand rainbows rushed

And revelled through the boundless sky,
In jousting, flashing radiancy.
Careering around the welkin's brim
Like bright embattled Seraphim;
Or soaring up to the dome of Night,
Flooding the Milky-way with light;
Or streaming down on the mountain peaks,
On the muirland wastes, and the heather brakes;
On lake and river, on tower and tree,
Showering a sky-born galaxy,
Like a storm of pearls and diamonds driven,
Imbued with the gorgeous hues of heaven!

So here you have it.  I call it done.  It was great fun thinking outside the box. When I look at the finished page, *I* see the Northern Lights as I imagine them in my mind.  I don't care what the hubs sees.

So jump on over and see what Melody, Lynn and Tamie have created this week at Artful Chicks. We hope that we have inspired you in some way and can't wait to see what your mind conjurs up this week!

Saturday, March 21, 2015


THIS WEEK'S PROMPT:  Represent "Spring" without using any flowers. This one is designed to make you think outside the box. 

Spring has officially arrived and for many of you still covered in snow and ice, we know it cannot come soon enough!  Here in north Texas, early signs of spring are popping out all over. A brief drive around my neighborhood and around the lake finds Jonquils, Daffodils and Lilacs in bloom. The Bradford Pears and Wild Sand Plums are showing a profusion of wispy white blooms.  The song birds are arriving and delighting me with each flutter of the wing and hop in the lawn, searching for those little creepy crawlies they love so much.  I love spring.  Spring rains (that we need so desperately), the emergence of the leaves, the flowers, the awakening of the earth, shaking off the last vestige of old man winter.  The world seems to come alive again after cold, dark and dreary days.  Spring in north Texas can be wild, too. It is not uncommon for us to have heavy storms, tornadoes and hail stones as big as soft balls.  But we're not going to think about that now.  Now, we are just grateful for the rain and the emergence of soft, natural beauty back to the land.

Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal and this was my inspiration for my spread this week.

Supplies Used:

Canson 9"x12" mixed media journal
DIY Texture paste, tinted green
Dylusions Blendable Acrylic in Lime Green & Cut Grass
Apple Barrel craft acrylics in Crisp Green and Parakeet
Plaid fern stencil
Magazine images from vintage Texas Highways Magazines
Black china marker

My background actually started as a page where I was using up paint that was on the stencil from creating a mail art project.  I certainly didn't want to waste it!   I really rather like this fern stencil so decided to tint up some DIY Texture paste I made with paint and added some more leaves here and there.

I went through about 15 old Texas Highways Magazines and found images that represented spring to me and cut out the letters S*P*R*I*N*G from those images.  And each of these images is from a specific geographical area of the great Lone Star state:

S- is a beautiful spring vista in the Pecos region of southwest Texas
P -is a recently emerged Mayfly from Athens, Texas, about an hour east of my home
R- is a bicyclist taking a leisurely evening ride through the beautiful Barton Springs area near Austin
I- is one of the mighty oak trees from the Austin, Texas area
N- is a creek in deep east Texas near Toledo Bend with gorgeous cypress trees
G-is a beautiful sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico just out of Galveston Bay

The "dot" over the "I" is a bird from a wildlife management sanctuary near Athens, Texas
and the butterfly is one emerged from the gorgeous Butterfly Gardens at Fair Park in Dallas.

I love being a Texan, and spring in Texas is always filled with a profusion of colorful plants, trees and flowers.  When we have a good rainy spring, the fields and highways will be filled with beautiful red clover, our famous Bluebonnets, and fiery Indian Paintbrushes.  As we heat up, the Johnny Jump Ups and wild sunflowers will appear and everyone's gardens will be awash in a sea of color.  From the dusty hills and cliffs down in the Big Bend Country to the lush gardens of deep east Texas.  We have a wild, wonderful and colorful state, and spring is glorious here.

C'mon down and visit us sometime.  You'll love it.

Thanks for stopping by for a little visit.  I hope I have inspired you with my take on our prompt this week and I will anxiously wait to see what beautiful spread you put in your journal this week to signal the arrival of spring.

Betty aka Arty Auntie

Saturday, March 14, 2015

ARTFUL JOURNEYS - WEEK #11 "Color it Green"

Gosh, so difficult for me to make anything green, to wear green or to think green when everything is still pretty much brown and boring outside, not to mention super muddy. But thankfully we are getting much needed rain!  The weeds in my yard are green, and they are growing very well, thank you.  But it is too wet to mow. LOL

Our prompt at Artful Journeys this week is kind of a multi-parter:  Color it Green and use a brown paper bag or Saran Wrap.  

I have known about this prompt for months. Cogitated on it. Still nothing. Then today, when I was out doing my grown up thing, I started thinking about how cloudy and overcast it was, but oh! there! The wild sand plum bushes are blooming and oh, look! Over there, the Bradford Pears are blooming too.  Sunshine in the dreary gray sky.  That was it, my inspiration for this week's prompt.

I did take a couple of pictures of these early blooms for you.  Aren't we lucky?  Spring starts early, leaves early. So I take great pleasure in seeing the Jonquils popping up and all the early flowering trees showing us their "stuff" as Mother Nature shakes off the grips of winter.

I watch this patch of sand plums like a hawk, because the plums will be ready to pick in mid to late June, but I have to hurry or the dang deer and the birds get most of them.  They make the best jam you've ever tasted!

And here are some lovely Bradford Pear trees lining one of my neighbor's driveways.  In a couple of weeks, (barring no hail or high winds) these trees will be stunningly beautiful, but the blooms are short lived.

Okay, I have digressed, I know.  So let's get on with it now that I have shown you my inspiration.

My spread is created in my Canson Mixed Media Journal.  Background created with Apple Barrel craft acrylic in Sky Blue and Antique White.  I brushed on the blue and used a damp paper towel to smudge on and smooth out the Antique White creating a cloud effect.  I added a lightly primed large sun stamp to the top corner, hoping to give the effect of the sun trying to peek through all these clouds.

Then, in lieu of cutting up a big brown paper grocery bag (which I only had one and am saving), I dug out a roll of heavy duty brown kraft paper.  Using Dina Wakely's heavy body acrylics in Ruby, Turquoise, Magenta, Lemon, Tangerine & Cut Grass.  I painted some wide stripes on the paper, blasted with the heat gun and then cut into strips.

I then used straight and fancy edged scissors to cut out some circles of assorted sizes; some of which I "stripped" and "curled".  I formed these circles into flowers, added embellishments voila!  Flowers.

I cut a double strip of the green and cut a few hundred slashes onto one side.  I cut off about 1-1/4" and curled into like a tube to form a flower "base.  I cut some other ovals to make some "roses"

Assorted fancy edge scissors used

Lettering strips are 1/2" watercolor paper, colored with Peacock Blue Copic marker and lettered with White Signo Uniball

And the finished spread.  I was rather pleased with the finished outcome, giving me a little sunshine on these cloudy, rainy days.  And I did make good use of the green, right?  This way really way out of my comfort zone.  Nobody said the whole thing had to be green.....and y'all know I'm a rebel. So there.  (hehehe)

So go out there and do something outside YOUR comfort zone and be adventuresome.    Then be sure and show us your creations over at Artful Journeys!

* * * * * * * * * * * 

Here are some other things I have created recently that you may not have seen.

These ATC's were done for the prompt " Find Circles"

These ATC's were done for a prompt called "Button Day"

This is an ATC done for an Alphabet series of swaps we have going on now.  Lace was "dyed" with copic marker.

 These ATC's were for a collaboration project.  Tamie Wilson did the backgrounds, Shelly Recicar added the mesh and paper & wooden flower; and I added the sunflower girls and the saying.  This was a very fun project with a great team!

Easter-themed mail art swap with the prompt:  Easter Eggs.  The card on the right is "napkin" art that has been embellished and was included in the swap as some 'extra" love to my partners.

This is my final copy of another ATC collaboration project.  I did the background, CJ Messa added the adorable fish, rock (?) and brown sandy parts & washi, and Annmarie Killam added the bubbles and shell charms.  This was a great swap and the entire team did an awesome job!

This was made as a freestanding art piece on watercolor paper as a mail art swap. Our prompt was "HeART" art swap with Dylusions Inks, Dylusions blendable acrylics, stencils, washi, punch cuts, Staz-On stamp pad ink in Tuxedo Black and Adirondack Stamp pad ink in Stained glass.

I don't know if I showed you this one already or not, but I like how it turned out so much I'm showing it off again.  This was for a journal page swap with the prompt "Gratitude" and went to the multi-talented Delores Miller.  Dylusions spray inks, stained french lace, Vintage lady from The Graphics Fairy, colored with NeoColor II.

This is a tri-fold tip-in for my journal I prepared for last week's prompt at Artful Journeys. Made on an upcycled K-cups box; Dylusions blendable acrylics, vintage images from Pinterest; magazine clippings and a silhouette sent to me in happy mail.

So that's what I've been up to lately.  Thanks for stopping by and having a look.

Go out there, stay creative and as always, keep it artful!


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>