Thursday, December 30, 2010


Wishing all of my blogging friends a new year filled with peace, abundance, good health and LOTS of creativity!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

A New Book!

These photos show the cover and a few of the inside pages from a wonderful book I received for Christmas!!! There are many more amazing photos inside! I have really become fascinated by mandalas this year and the more I learn about them the more interested I become!!! And I hope to be creating a few of my own VERY SOON!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Gift from Elena!!!

This is what I won in Elena's giveaway!!! Isn't it beautiful?!?!? I'm going to hang it somewhere where I will constantly be reminded to take that giant LEAP!!!!
Thank you Elena!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

"I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Around the House

Just a few of my favorite Christmas things!! I cross-stitched the mouse picture for my mom back in 1982. The group of 4 Santas was made for my by my sister-in-law. and the "Birds" sign is something I made back in the days when I did a few craft shows!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!!

The next few days will be might busy so I just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas before I start to go crazy with last minute stuff!!! I am so thankful for all the bloggers out there sharing their lives, thoughts, ideas and infinite creativity!! I am inspired by all of you every day and I am so happy to be on this journey with you!! Thank you!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I received this little ornament from one of my Sunday School teachers when I was VERY young, so it has been around a long time! Probably about 50 years! I have always loved and treasured it and it hangs on the tree every single year. The glitter has discolored and it's just cheap plastic but it has a lot of meaning for me. And it's only about 2 inches tall!! Sorry for the blurriness.

Friday, December 17, 2010

This is the Christmas stocking my mom made me when I was a very young child. It is definitely one of my most prized posessions! By the way, the photo I posted yesterday of Mary, Jesus and camel were all cut out of wood (by me) and painted by me! Back in my folk art painting days. I miss working with wood. Have to think about that after Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's Coming!!!!!


I am finally figuring out this whole uploading of photos deal. Just thought I would post a photo of my favorite Kankakee barn quilt. This was done by a group of homeschooled teenagers. The detail is amazing!! I only saw 10 of the 30 barn quilts in Kankakee county but hope to see the rest in 2011!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Past

Yes, that's me with the camera! Christmas of 1962 I believe. Boy do I feel old! I'm the only one in the photo who is still living!! Time flies and life changes quickly! I need to focus more on appreciating NOW!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Can't Stop Scanning!!!

This is so cool now that I'm able to add images to the blog!! I can't stop!!
The first image is something I did over a year ago when I was reeeeeally feeling sort of "in the zone" and inspired in a very intuitive way. The other 2 are the inside and outside of a birthday card I made for my son last year. It was a take-off on a CD cover from one of his favorite bands called Breathe Carolina. Now....what can I scan next?!?!?!??!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wow!! This is fun!!

This is the first finished page in my Make Your Mark Journal. Hopefully will have more to come soon!!!


I think it worked!!! This is one of my favorite pictures of my mom and I. I wish I had more pictures of myself with both of my parents but, as my dad was the photography nut in the family, he is rarely in a photo! I'm just experimenting a little with my new pc and printer/scanner!! Can't believe this worked!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Someone gave me a card recently that said, "There are years that ask questions and there are years that give answers." I love that quote and I have to say that this has been a year of questions. I am thankful for the questions and for the opportunity to find the answers. I am thankful for all the wonderfully creative bloggers who share of themselves so freely and inspire me daily to keep plugging along. And I am thankful for soooooooooo much more!! Family, friends and the chance to be alive and awake and experiencing this life!!!! My heart overflows with gratitude!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


My paternal grandmother was born on 11-11-00. She would have been 110 years old today. Next year, on 11-11-11 she would've turned 111. And I wonder what it means when,so many times during the course of a week or month I glance at a clock and it says 11:11!!! I think Grandma is just saying "Hi!".

Friday, November 5, 2010

Nature at Work

While on the way to my doctor appointment this morning my husband and I saw a large hawk in the middle of the road feasting on something fuzzy. As we approached he flew up into a tree with fur and blood and guts trailing from his mouth. I know that to many people this is just gross and cruel. But I enjoy seeing the circle of life at work---it's the way it's SUPPOSED to be, since the beginning of time and I find comfort in that!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Barn Quilts

I just recently learned of a project called "The Barn Quilt Trail". I'm not sure how long ago this started but, it is a project where, in rural areas where there are lots of barns, farmers take it upon themselves to create 8x8 foot wooden, painted quilt squares and attach them to the sides of their barn! I happened across quite a few of these up in Kewanee County, Wis. this summer. Then I accidentally discovered that there are about 30 of these barn quilts at different locations in Kankakee county in Illinois!!! There is a web-site (It's part of a U. of Illinois Extension project) and on the web-site is a map to all the locations!!! SO.....It's a beautiful fall day and I LOVE to go out exploring country I think I'm off to Kankakee County for the day!!! Just need to pack a lunch, grab a camera and GO!!!!! My mom would have loved this!!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Seize the Day!!!

Well, shoulder surgery is all set for October 25th---gulp!! That gives me a good 3 weeks to organise my life, catch up on everything I'm behind in, buy a new computer, prepare for my son's birthday, lose 20 don't think I'm being a little unrealistic, do you?!?!?!? It's funny how the thought of being somewhat incapacitated for awhile can really spur you on to get things done!

On the creative front, I signed up for the "Make your Mark" journal project at the Lagrange Art League this past weekend. I went there on Saturday to pick up my journal and take a workshop on some very fun and creative ways to get started!! So hopefully, while I'm "one armed" for awhile I can use my other arm to start making many marks in the journal. It's funny though, how intimidating it is to make the "first mark"!!

And on another positive note, my Artist's Way group at the Center has started up again!! I really missed this group this summer---more than EVER!!! They are so dear to my heart and it really lifts my spirits just to walk into the Lodge where we meet!!

And another creative activity that I'm enjoying.....making a handmade book with coptic binding....a 2 session workshop with Marge Boyd. These would make great gifts but not sure I can handle it one-handed!! So glad the final session is before surgery!!

Well, time to go seize this beautiful day!! (not sure about the spelling of seize!!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Still here----more or less!!

I'm still here!! Unfortunately, my computer isn't!! It suddenly refuses to connect to the internet!! I think that I better start shopping for a new one this weekend---finally!!! The thought of being able to have a computer where everything works is REALLY exciting!! And to be able to post photos would be pure heaven at this point!! The possibilities are endless!!
Other than that, I'm just trying to deal with the prospect of shoulder surgery with a positive attitude!!! I think it would be easier if someone would tell me that I HAVE to have the surgery or my arm will fall off!! It's the deciding that's so hard!! Well, when I'm sitting around recuperating I'll have plenty of time to read blogs and gather inspiration!!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bridget Austin Workshop

I feel so lucky and privledged to have had the chance to take a 4-day watercolor workshop in Door County with Bridget Austin!! She was absolutely wonderful and far exceeded all my expectations!! By the time we got to day 4 our heads were spinning!! She is just a fount of information when it comes to painting---so many things to think about and she just does it all almost unconsciously!! She makes it look sooooooooo easy!! She does wonderful demos---you feel like you could just sit and watch her paint all day!! It was a full class with 15 women and 1 man---many people from Chicago suburbs, one from Rhode Island, one from Ohio and a group of 4 friends from Texas!! Many wonderful artists!! And then of course, there is the wonderful setting of the Peninsula School of Art, the surroundings and magic of Door County.....what more could you ask for?!?!? Now to try and maintain some of that Door County "magic" at home!! This has been a very difficult year, for many reasons. It just doesn't seem to be getting any better either. I try to count my blessings regularly for they are many and I am truly grateful. And yet it is a year when everything just feels a bit "off"---some things more than others. Maybe my planets just aren't aligned properly?????? I need a shift!!!! I'm really looking forward to fall and getting back to some classes at The Center!!! That ALWAYS helps!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Off to Door County!!

Woooo Hooooo!!! Off to a 4 day watercolor workshop with Bridget Austin!! I hope I'm ready for this. Am I an "Advanced Beginner"??? Not so sure about the advanced part!! But I will learn something anyway!!! Sure hope it's cooler up there!!!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I just found out this afternoon that a distant cousin of mine took his own life yesterday. It is so sad as he leaves behind 2 sons, 3 siblings and an ex-wife who still cares for him. He struggled for a long time with alcoholism but has been sober for almost 18 yrs. He also suffered severe depression at times and, in recent years, suffered with cluster headaches that no one could fine a cause for. He was also a talented artist. His parents were very good friends of my parents and our families spent many good times together when we were growing up. Even though I haven't seen him in a long time I will miss him greatly. It's hard to imagine feeling that life is so awful that you can't take it anymore. But, as his brother said to me, if he were really "himself" he would NEVER have done this to his family. I pray that he is at peace now and that his family will be able to come to terms with this in time. I am thankful for the happy memories I have of him.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What's in the Air Lately?????

Everywhere I go, in everything I read lately, there seems to be a common theme. The feeling that change is in the air, growth is on the horizon, something is just feeling "off". I know I am feeling it---something very unsettling---something making it hard to settle down and focus on any one activity or project. It feels like I am waiting for something but I don't know what it is!! I see it in other blogs, in both the writing and, in some cases, the lack of writing. I hear it from other artists who are struggling with with where they are "at" right now. And there has also been a lot of death----it seems everyone I know has either lost someone or is in the process of losing someone. I long for a feeling of lighthearted-ness and just can't find it. I start to think of taking off on a spontaneous adventure and then something says "No, you need to stay home and wait"---for WHAT?!?!??! Somehow, venturing too far away from the homestead just doesn't feel safe at the moment. I am not liking this at all!!!! It would be very easy to spiral down into depression but I don't want to waste all that time!! It's too much work to dig my way out. So, any ideas anyone??? What the hell is going on?!?!?!? Are you feeling it too?????

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Where Have I Been?

Good question! June has just been flying by and I can't believe July will be here before I know it!! I have been faithfully reading all my favorite blogs but just haven't felt like I have anything to write about!! I have been spending quite a bit of time in my art room---trying to organize things so that it's a more inviting place and also, a place where I don't constantly search for the supplies I need!! I'm getting there!!! I am also getting a lot closer to buying a new computer. This one is still not functioning very well in spite of having been rebuilt. I'm glad it was not something I had to pay a lot of money to have done!! I feel like I would be in pure heaven if I could post photos (I just wanna be like everyone else!!) and possibly even give Etsy a try!! I'm feeling more and more like I would like to try and make a little money doing my "art thing". I have never been one of those people who knew from a young age what they wanted to be. But I am feeling more sure all the time that my path is ART---in some way, shape or form!!! It really was right in front of my face all along but, for some reason, back in highschool and college I wasn't sure that I wanted to commit to it. I've spent many years trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up----I think it's about time I figure it out!!!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 27, 1950

On this date Eleanor June Benck married Robert Ralph Peterson. Today is their 60th anniversary and I hope they are enjoying spending it together. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. I love you and miss you!!

My parents spent their honeymoon driving around Lake Michigan and attending the Indianapolis 500 auto race. Dad sure did love his race cars!!! In 1962 my parents took me to the race. I still remember seeing the tears flowing down my dad's cheeks as they did a tribute and played taps for Tony Bettenhausen who had died in a crash the year before. He was my dad's idol. My dad always had a photo of Tony hanging in his workshop. Don't know where I'm going with this. Just enjoying some precious memories today I guess.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm Back!!!

The old computer came back home over the weekend and seems to be working---HOORAY!!!
I have a busy week ahead---getting ready to meet my best friend in Lake Geneva next weekend to celebrate her birthday!! I can't wait!! I have really been surrounded by sadness lately and a fun getaway is just what I need!! So many people I know have sick and dying loved ones right now---I wish I could take away everyone's pain but, as I know all too well, there are no shortcuts---you just have to walk thru it, endure it and eventually survive it. That's just the way life is. If you're lucky, you have good memories to sustain you. And there are always lessons to be learned from the darkness that we walk thru---that damned darkness!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

That's All Folks!!!!

My computer appears to be dead---it's been on it's last legs for quite some time!! So, until I get a new one, things will be mighty quiet around here!! I will try to check in once in awhile via my sons laptop. I will sure miss reading the posts from all you wonderful bloggers!! Take care and keep on creating!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sniff Sniff!!!

I can't believe I'm sick!!! Or is it just allergies??? How does one know the difference?? Either way, I'll be staying home today, missing my Artist's Way group this morning. I really enjoyed this weeks chapter too---all about having compassion for all the other people in the world. Focusing on how we are the same and not on the differences--not judging people--realizing that we are all human beings with human issues. Regardless of where we live, the color of our skin, our economic status, the clothes we wear--none of it matters. What matters is our "human-ness". It's what we all have in common!!!
On another note---hauled a short bookcase that was my mom's, upstairs and hoisted it onto the old oak dresser yesterday. Now I have a storage "unit"!! Big drawers topped by shelves---I'm so excited!! The room is starting to look like a place where you might want to create something!!
Who knows what will happen next!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Determined??? Or Just Stupid???

I had a sudden inspiration yesterday. I decided the old oak dresser that had been in my mom's kitchen my whole life (stored pots, pans, tablecloths etc.) would be WONDERFUL for storage in my art room. Problem? The dresser was sitting in my basement and my art room is 2 floors up from there!! Of course I was home alone and I wanted it done NOW!!! So I just did it!! Took out all the drawers, flipped the dresser upside down and basically slid it up the 2 flights of stairs!!! I told my husband I had performed a super human feat!! He knows how I am---when I decide I want something done I am NOT going to wait until there is someone around to help me!! Not always a smart decision but the job does get done!! So now it's up there looking beautiful and antiquey(?) and nostalgic. The drawers have new shelf paper lining and I am ready to fill it up!! I just needed a better place to store my stash of large paper and things!! So my back is sore but my heart is happy!!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Collage Workshop!

I spent all day yesterday at Laura Lein-Svencner's collage workshop at the McCord Gallery. It was WONDERFUL!!! Such a fun day of creating and "playing"!! We made soooo many papers to work with---almost ran out of time to collage!! But I got one done and I really like it!! If I could, I would post a photo!! ****Frustration!!!!**** One of these days......

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our Journey

"I haven't a clue how my story will end, but that's all right.
When you set out on a journey and night covers the road, that's
when you discover the stars."

--Nancy Willard--

I need to keep this in mind everyday!! I keep trying to take action (baby steps) but sometimes I worry too much that I will wander off the path!! What path? is what I need to ask myself. There is no path----just follow your heart. I have faith it will take me where I am meant to go.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Sense of Wonder

Did you see that moon coming up tonight??? WOW!!! I am truly in awe of the miracles of everyday life. That big orange ball popping up from the horizon reminds me that we are also floating thru space on a ball---a ball that is capable of supporting life, lucky for us!! We need to take care of our "ball".

"If I had influence with the good fairy, I would ask that her gift to each child be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life."
--Rachel Carson--

Friday, March 26, 2010


Why does time seem to be the bane of my existence? I was looking forward to today---a day with no commitments. And I woke up this morning with a knot of anxiety in my gut. I laid in bed and tried to just sit with that feeling and figure it out but I can't. All I could think of was that there were so many choices---so many things that I want to do---how do I choose?? I constantly feel that there aren't enough hours in the day, days in the week, weeks in the month and months in the year. And I guess that takes me to years in my life.....will I have enough??? I guess I need to work on being "in the moment". Sounds easy enough's not!!! I think I've been this way my entire life. Even as a kid I remember being very aware of time passing, of childhood racing by. I NEVER WANTED TO GROW UP!!!! I still don't!! I don't want to get to "the end" and feel like I've wasted it all. I better go get busy doing something!!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Tuesday was an all-around good day!!!! I went to my Artist's Way group in the morning. And though there was bad news shared by one of the members and we all shed a tear or two, the love and support pouring from everyone was beautiful!!
After that I went to the luncheon and program on mandalas. AND I got to meet Elena who is such a lovely person!!! Up till now I only knew her in "blog-land". I hope you enjoyed it Elena---some of their programs are better than others but I enjoyed learning a little more about mandalas and how they're intended to be used. I had kind of a strange feeling sitting and talking with you----kind of like I was talking to myself in a different package!!! Does that sound totally weird?!?!? And please don't feel bad if you didn't feel the same way. It's just something I felt the need to express!! It's such a beautiful day----I hope you're out enjoying your bike!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

I Love Legos!!!

I had the most wonderful, spur of the moment Artist's Date yesterday!! I just happened to read something on Facebook about a huge Lego Train exhibit at the Oak Lawn library. Yesterday was the last day it would be there. Hubby and I had some errands to do and when we were done I said, if he wasn't in a hurry to get home I had a surprise side-trip I'd like to take. He said Ok and off we went. He was totally baffled. Tee hee!! There were people standing in line, waiting to get in at 1:00 when the library would open---it was packed. We followed the throng down the stairs to the basement and WOW!!!! There was the biggest, most awesome Lego train set up I have ever seen!!! I just love Legos and really miss the days when my son had them spread all over and I could play with them too!! This was put on by the Northern Illinois Lego Train Club. They have 16 members and this is what they do in their spare time!! There is very little in their display that is actually made from Lego kits---it's mostly made up from their own imaginations and it was incredible!! The trains, the buildings, the gardens---a farm with a field of sunflowers, a curling rink, the Art Institute, a White Castle, Bigbucks coffee shops, Star Wars areas, a Haunted with house with flashing lights and skeletons wandering everywhere!!! I could go on and on!! One man told me that the display contains approximately $60,000 worth of Legos!! It was well worth the trip and my husband really enjoyed it. He loves Legos too. One of these days I'm going to haul those buckets of bricks up from the basement and PLAY!!!!!!!!

Teddy Roosevelt Said...

"The joy of living is his who has the heart to demand it."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How did it happen?!?!??!?!

Well, now I've done it!! Sat down to read a few blogs and, before I knew it, I'd inhaled a whole tube of Girl Scout cookies----without even thinking!!!!! I only meant to eat a few but pretty soon there was only one lonely cookie left---and he was crying out to join his buddies----CHOMP!!! All gone!!! I bought those cookies to help out the Girl Scout next door---not to stuff myself..........yeah......right.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wonderful Whimsical Winter!!

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday in Western Springs (nothing serious, just routine) and I hate going to the dr. I love my doctor but she is too far away from my home. So, when I go there I always take the "scenic route" through many forest preserves. Yesterday the trip was sheer heaven!! Breathtaking beauty everywhere with all the clean, fresh snow lining every branch, from the biggest to the most delicate lacelike twigs!!! And me with no camera, as usual!! So anyway, I am GLAD I had to go the dr. because otherwise I would never have made that trip thru the forest preserves!!!
And today.....I do believe the angels are having a pillow fight!!! A very joyful pillow fight!! I want to join in and play!!! But off to Artist's Way I go---and I can't wait!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Love These Blogs!!!

I learn so much from all you bloggers!! I can get totally lost in "blog land"----start living vicariously thru others---and I spend too much time on it!! I know it's good to dream and look for inspiration and get the creative juices flowing BUT.....eventually you have to DO something!!
I need April's "clean space" to work, I need to feel the sunshine and green grass in Suz's photos and I need Elena's spirit of adventure (well, I think I already have it but haven't indulged it lately!!) So, I'm off to DO something!! To do something I love!! Which, at the moment, seems to be colored pencil mandalas on black paper!!! So many ideas!!! Life doesn't happen when you're sitting in front of a computer!!

I also have to tell you that my Artist Way group met on Tuesday---first meeting of this session---and I felt so blessed to have these people in my life!! It was like a family reunion!! Everyone had lots to say (even the quiet ones!). I don't know how I could ever give this group up!! Such a safe, loving, accepting, supportive atmosphere! I wish everyone could know what this feels like!!
Thank you!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Today I am Thankful!!

Thank you to April for a wonderful time on Saturday!!
Thank you to Suz for incredible thoughtfulness and creativity!!!
Thank you to the Great Creator for this amazingly beautiful snowfall!!
Thank you to myself for getting my butt out the door to take a walk in the snow!!!
Thank you to everyone in my life for just being there for me!!!
Thank you to my parents for always supporting and encouraging me and loving me unconditionally!!!! I am forever grateful. Words just aren't enough to express how my heart overflows sometimes!!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Words......or lack of.

I'm still here!! Somewhere.......not quite sure where.....but I'm here! I am reading all your blogs, enjoying them, soaking up the wisdom, digesting them, learning from them. But I have no words. I think they're there......somewhere. But they're laying on the bottom of a very deep pond and they just can't rise to the surface right now. They are mired in mud and stuck, like suction cups, to the bottom. Eventually they'll let loose.......I think......I assume!! But for right now, just want you to know that I'm still here. Words or no words.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another Quote

"I have seen the sea when it is stormy and wild;
when it is quiet and serene;
when it is dark and moody.
And in all it's moods, I see myself."
---Martin Buxbaum---

Fighting the January "Blahs" lately. Something that seems to descend on me almost every January. Drawing class at the Center helps. And hopefully, today at home, I will make time to be creative, to play, to just "let it flow"!!!! It's a beautiful day!!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!!

You lived almost 83 wonderful years---and I got to be part of 54 of them. I am sooooo incredibly thankful for that!! Watched "Julie and Julia" this morning and loved it!! When it got to the part where Julie takes off the plastic snap-together pearls to put on real ones I knew you were with me!! I will keep yours forever!! I know how you loved those beads!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

This Quote Gave Me a Jolt!!

Came across this quote in the winter issue of La Vie Claire magazine-------

"How we spend our days, is, of course, how we spend our lives."
---Annie Dillard---

It really did give me a jolt----made me think of how many days I just waste---fritter them away on inconsequential stuff when I could be using the time to do something I love, do something creative. I complain often about the passing of time so why do I waste so much of it!!! Need to work HARD on that one!!

By the way, La Vie Claire is the most all around beautiful magazine!! If you're not familar with it you should check it out sometime. Rather expensive and there are only 4 issues per year but well worth it!!!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!!

Woke up this morning to blinding sunlight and it instantly lightened my mood! What a great way to start a new year!! And that Blue Moon last night-----WOW!!! Took a walk in the snow at midnight the night before and it was so light out, it was eerie---but nice!!
Got off to a good start today by doing morning pages!! Haven't done them in ages and I don't know why----just don't like to take the time I guess. But it felt GREAT!! So, hopefully, I will continue!! Wishing everyone health, happiness and LOTS of creativity and inspiration in the coming year!!!