Friday, November 13, 2015


You'll never guess what I found at HEB yesterday. These guys! A darling set of salt and pepper shakers, for less than five bucks, and the perfect little touch of seasonality to replace my Dia de Los Muertos skull in my dining room centerpiece.

Know why I love seasonality so much? Well, because, if I had that succulent centerpiece sitting there on my table all day every day, all year long, always looking the same, I would eventually stop seeing it. But, each time I add a tiny seasonal touch to it, I see it again with new eyes, and remember why I fell in love with it in the first place!

Can't wait to see how Santa and his burro will look with the twinkle lights that Hubby added turned on!

Hmmm, wonder if I could possibly fashion a few wee little luminaria bags to slip over some of the lights?

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Miss Kelley
On our first day of classes at Lucky Star, I spent the entire day in class with Kelly Walker, who happened to be my roomie the first year this camp opened. That year she was just a student like me, but she brought a carload of her crafty creations to sell on market night, and I nabbed a wonderful little box of three small journals that she had fashioned from monoprint papers created on a Gelli plate. The next year she decided to do a demo and sell kits at market night, and her table had such a mob around it the whole evening, I couldn't get near it! So this year she decided she might as well teach some classes, and I'm ever so glad she did, for this was the result! 

I don't want to give away too many of her details and secrets, because you really need to take one of her classes to get the full benefit. Suffice it to say, she has a gift for coming up with unique projects, figuring out ingenious ways to bring them to life, and explaining all the steps in a way that's easy to understand. If you can't make it one of her workshops, she now offers online classes on her website, One January Day.

We began the day with each of us creating our own "stash" of beautiful monoprint papers using a Gelli plate, heavy bodied acrylic paints, and the huge pile of stencils and texture tools that Kelley has amassed over time. If you've never done this before, you really need to try it.  It's one of the quickest, easiest ways I know to put yourself into a delightful "art trance" without having to give it much thought, and ending up with a whole lot to show for it! Once we had our stash, we cut them up into different shapes and sizes and used them to cover our little binder.

Kelley suggested ahead of time that we come up with a theme for our little "Heartsongs Folio", then gather up any bits and pieces of ephemera from our own stash at home that might fit in with this theme. Seeing as how I may be a little obsessed right now with the news that I am going to be a grandma, I chose this for my theme...

and decided this folio would be the perfect place to collect ideas of things I might like to do with my grandkids, as well as memories of time spent with my own grandparents.

Mimi always had a button jar for us to play with!
We used the remainder of our stash to make pages and fun little pockets, folders and envelopes for our folios.

As you can see SIL Priscilla, those security envelopes you saved up for me are still coming in handy!

Now all I have to do is a bit of research and idea collecting, starting with this wonderful book by Sharon Lovejoy, whose first chapter is entitled "Preparing Camp Granny"!

Also, I'd like to give a special shout out to my artist friend Shelley Massey of A Wee Bit Warped, who used to send me these great little "Zines", from which several bits and pieces found their way into my folio. You rock Shelley!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but this art camp I can't stop yakking about is held every year in Hunt, Tx. Hunt is on the western edge of the Texas Hill Country, near Lost Maples park, with the Guadalupe River snaking back and forth across the entire area -- so beautiful, it's no wonder that it has become a mecca for sleep away camps and river lodges of all sorts.

The hub of this little community is the Hunt Store, which I have heard about since first coming here, but never been to. It's the place where all the Lady Campers run whenever their wine stash is getting low. My Wimberley friends LaNell and Susan came to camp with me this year and, as it turns out, Susan spent most of her youthful summers with an aunt who lived directly behind the old Hunt Store. One afternoon they invited me to join them for a little drive around the area. It was such a treat to finally see some of the other camps and ranches, and to hear Susan's tales from her time there as a child.  Our last stop before heading back to camp was at the Hunt Store. I was expecting nothing more than a grungy little convenience store, but what I found was the heart of the community!

The do have some groceries and alcohol, of course...

The Beer Cooler
but there's also a cafe...

a bank...

a fine dining venue, complete with white tablecloths...

and even an outdoor event venue!

Know what I liked best of all? This area here, around the fireplace.

I have a feeling that's where all the most important business in the community takes place!

If you're ever in the area, be sure and stop in. You're sure to get a warm welcome.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


The first year I went to Lucky Star I drove the most direct route, which takes you down the back roads through little towns like Sisterdale and Comfort. Very scenic, but somewhat lacking when it comes to places to make a pit stop or grab a bite to eat. Since then I've decided it's worth my time to go a little bit out of the way, in order to make a stop in Fredericksburg -- one of the most picturesque towns in the Texas Hill Country. I must have been there 20 or 30 times in my life, but always stopped and parked as soon as I got on Main St., walked a couple of blocks down one side of the street, then came back down the other side -- just like all the other tourists! Lately though, I've been hearing rumors...about what might lie beyond those first two blocks. Like this shop called Farm Haus...

and one across the street called Timeless Menagerie.

I swear, between Hubby heading off to Minnesota and Canada for a two week consulting job, and prepping for Lucky Star and the Great Sudanese Adventure, Christmas has barely crossed my mind this year. But it only took one minute inside Farm Haus...

to have me yearning to go home and start decoratin'! Speaking of which, check out the Christmas decorations that were going up in the Fredericksburg Marketplatz while I was there.

Now that is one gi-nor-mous Weihnachtspyramide, is it not?

I arrived at Lucky Star late afternoon, and met up with my two friends from Wimberley -- LaNell and Susan -- whom I had persuaded to join me this year,with little to no effort! Another friend was going to come as well, and be my roomie, but she ended up having to drop out. I told them I would be happy to room with a stranger, as long as I was in one of the units that connects to my other friends. I kept waiting and waiting for someone to arrive, but no one ever did, so guess who got a room all to herself? ME, that's who!

Just love these color-mad Pendleton blankets. I really think I need some of these for when the whole family is here for the holidays, and some of them end up on air mattresses.

When I ran into our fearless leader later on, she apologized for my being in a room by myself. I think she was a bit taken aback when I threw my arms around her and said "Are you kidding? This is the best thing ever!" No more waking up at 4:30 AM, and having to just lay there staring at the ceiling to keep from waking the others. Plus, I'm a major introvert. When I wanted people time, all I had to do was step out onto the porch I shared with friends in all the surrounding units. When I wanted down time, I'd go back inside and work on one of my projects, which I happily spread out from one end of the room to the other. Woohoo!

Not long after that is was time for the first of many simply scrumptious meals to come, and then we were off to the ballroom to hear our keynote speaker -- Austin writer/maker/doer Bernadette Noll.

Bernadette (left) with Lucky Star founder Lisa Hamlin
Bernadette is a return-guest from Lucky Star's opening year. This year she spoke about making time for creativity, but it was her first talk that really struck a chord with me -- the one about establishing, and keeping, a tribe of creative friends who spur you on to do so much more than you could ever do on your own. Don't know what I would do without my Muses!

Then, to end the evening as we always do at Lucky Star, the musical stylings of every camper's favorite fireside songstress, Miss Mandy Rowden!

It was a very good day!

P.S. Speaking of the Great Sudanese Adventure -- we've got immunizations, we've got visas, and as of about midnight last night, after mucho angst and effort on the part of my poor hubby, we finally have tickets! I guess we're really gonna do this thing!

Monday, November 9, 2015


We'll, I'm finally home from Lucky Star Art & Whole Living Camp (a.k.a. Lady Camp) and I have to say that, despite it raining on us four out of five days, I had the most amazing time ev-er! Why? Because I absolutely adored every single class I took, and the women who were instructing them! I'll go into a lot more detail later when I get things unpacked and sorted out, and finish gluing all the bits and pieces into one of my projects, but here's a quicky peek at the sort of things you too could be making, were you to attend Lucky Star next year. File these under I CAN'T BELIEVE I DID THIS MYSELF!

From my Hand Screen Printing and Indigo-Shibori Dying classes.
Lucky Star, you're awesomeness is unparalleled!