Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What's up - On the lighter side

Random: We had no t.v. service in NC. So when we came back down to Orlando, we took the plunge back into cable t.v. and I regained my "remote control knowledge".   Every once in a while I remember we have cable service and I actually watch t.v.  Last night Paul was at badminton (!) and I just was NOT up to taking my Tuesday night dance classes, so I stayed home.  I was weaving when I suddenly remembered to turn on the t.v.  Lucky for me, it was Gibbs' night. :-)  During a commercial I switched to The Voice.  And truly, this woman that I heard was THE VOICE.  She sang New York State of Mind in a way that made my soul stir.  When she completed her performance I realized I was shaking and sobbing ~ that was really weird.  But she was absolutely astounding!  And if I remember to watch again, I hope she sings! Lord have mercy, that lady is blessed with a God given voice. Whew!  Blake is her coach, and one lucky man he is!

I have been receiving all kinds of good stuff in the mailbox lately ... but when I got these I was once again streaming tears with the biggest grin on my face.  For some reason, this was symbolic for me in the decision to give this my undivided attention, passion, heart & soul.  100% in.  Now I have a label. It must be real, right!?! So. very. excited. :-)  They came from InkedPapers.etsy 
The craftsmanship is fabulous.  I highly recommend her!

These are things I worked on yesterday ... the little book cover is a donation for an auction in which the proceeds will go to help a fellow artist with her medical bills.  She has cancer and is going through hell with chemo and such.  As she is an artist, she's had to close her shop for the sick time which has impeded her ability to make a living.  The IG community is an amazing place, folks.  Get on the Instagram program if you have procrastinated.  The love on there is more amazing than you ever thought possible.  And yes, the tears, they will flow.  Anyway, you can donate to this cause here. The fundraiser is being hosted by two of the IG community's lovely ladies.  Yep, tears.  One of the organizers is Jenn of  If you aren't familiar with her work, check her out.  She makes the most amazing clay art miniatures ... and her eye for all things vintage is outstanding.
 The purse on the right will be completed and put up for sale by week's end, I hope ... and the bag in the background is a commissioned piece for such an amazing lady whom I've become friends with via her son ... who we met through chance.

I am taking an on-line water color art class ... first trying to learn to sketch.  This is hard.  It's a class on drawing girls in boots.  Fashion? What was I thinking? Anyway, it's a good class ... I'm only one week in.  I need about 2500 more hours of sketching.  Then I'll move on to week 2.  Should be good in about 6 months. ;-)  The Boot Workshop by Christy Tomlinson.

Spring Festival at Lake Eola!  So much fun!
Best booth ever!  Awesome product as well.  
Carey Ferrante of Blue-Betty (
 There are some amazing artisans, craft experts and people in general out there.  I am always inspired and fired up when I go to a show.  It was a good one with BEAUTIFUL weather for all. :-)

An amazing departed soul in the Orlando area left an endowment for the city of Winter Park to have a monthly performance in their park by the Orlando Philharmonic.  I am deeply grateful to her for her HUGE generosity.  I strive for that kind of foresight and generosity!  It was an absolutely wonderful performance and an amazing night out in the park with a friend of many years, Pennisu ... who danced with Paul (as his stage wife) in his very first ever performance of the Nutcracker.  For this, and this alone, Psu deserves a medal ... maybe a purple heart, depending on which performance we are referencing!  ;-)

We had a trivial pursuit family night.  These two were so very generous to me that night.  I won the game with their help, by answering a question about wine that they chose knowing I would be able to answer it.  They really are the BEST family ever.  For some insight, these two are genius level I.Q.  And sadly, I am not.  It was F.U.N. to be the winner, even if it was because of their sweet encouraging help.  Happy dance with no tears on this deal! 

I grouted these two stepping stones to put them in the finished column!  They are both gifts to friends.  I cannot wait to hand them over ...  and hopefully see some smiling faces when I do!

 Carmen Lolita - a red head's tale of love

Ferocious Fannie Frog

I finished this for a friend's birthday.  First time making a 9 x 12.  It turned out beautifully.  I was delighted to send it to this woman, who is just such a sweet spirit and beautiful soul.  And a hugely incredible artist.  I hope she can use it in great health and happily create her magic. :-)

I delivered this handwoven computer bag to my first ever COLLECTOR of my work!!  She also has one of my handwoven, handmade journals.  It is fun to know someone enjoys your work enough that they want more of it!  I am so very grateful ... and blessed.  She also has a piece of this guy's ...

While I'm showing things, I'll show you my husband's latest ... the dragonfly.  He's such a gifted artisan.  I love his work.  And him.    AND, he's becoming quite the badminton contender!  I love his enthusiasm and abandon for what he loves to do.  Paul is definitely all in when he's riding the wave, whichever wave it is!

Found this little gem at a garage sale for $1.  Brought her home and giggled to myself.  A couple of weeks later ... after the inspiration hit me, I primed and spray painted her.  Then I asked Paul to paint her again, as his spray painting touch is always better than mine!  Then I painted her again.  Even with the primer, she really wasn't sure about going gold!  But as soon as she saw her new outfit, she was beaming all over.  Redoing furniture is always so much fun, and very satisfying if you can wait out the drying process between paint coats and varnishes and etc.  I am pleased with this little chair.  And she really looks good at our kitchen counter.  Now to reupholster the dining room chairs ... someday. 

This is my new backup plan.  I am embarking on tax return weekend.  This will be recited and repeated and "omed" until I am certain I am in charge. HA! Take that, negativity!
The previous also stands for Operation: Get Ms. Cheri in shape to teach again!
 I have been religious about working out, week number two.  My plan is to do something every day. And something new and different from the day before each and every day.  This LeBarre program rotates into the lineup once or twice a week.  It kicks my bootie.  And it's my daughter who does the kicking.  I have also fallen in love with yoga.  And I do Pilates and ballet & tap, too.  I also walk.  It feels good and my body is getting happy.  But eating right is also a big part of the equation, an although should be an old pro at all of this, it feels like the first time again.   As a side note, things do not change as rapidly these days as they used to!

I taught a children's dance class last week for a friend.  This precious little girl is the daughter of one of the students I taught when we lived here before.  And so the generations carry on the dance tradition!  These little people are so adorable.  I begin teaching 2 preschool ballet classes/week next week.  I am looking forward to being a princess more than anyone could ever know! (insert Tears of joy here)  And I am excited to meet my little ballerinas.  Yay!

It is Child Abuse awareness month this month of April.  Please consider donating to a Children's Home (one like The Crossnore School) or any place that helps abused, abandoned and neglected children.  They are SO in need of love and material items, too.   As our job is not to judge, please use that energy to send out love to these beautiful children.

And speaking of children, it was my daughter's birthday yesterday. Happy, happy birthday, Jenn!
 As Jennifer is a cancer fighter/survivor, every single birthday is a precious reminder of how blessed we are to have her in our lives, here on earth, every single day.  There are so many things that we, as normal humans, take for granted.  And I can bet our children sometimes fall into that category.  But since Jenn's battle started 13 or so years ago,  every time I hear her voice, see her face, or even just look at her photo, you can bet I am doing a celebration dance like no other.  Having a child is a seriously incredible gift.  I say grace every day for experiencing the role of mom in my children's lives.  When you are faced with just how fragile life is, priorities change, perceptions change and life is good ~ just as it is.  The battles must be picked strategically. 
So I encourage you today to hug your child(ren), or if that isn't possible, send them a text saying you love them, at the very least.  And then say grace. 

Blessings to you all,


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Merry Go Round

Some where along the way, the words "Merry Go Round" began having a negative connotation for me.  Lately, every time I felt over whelmed, I would think, "oh my gosh, it's like I am on a merry go round".  But the other day I was on my back porch thinking about when Paul & I went to England in 1998.  For some reason I was remembering the little chubby red cheeks of the few little children who were on the carousel (as it were) in the town center.  It was December and there was ice hanging off of my then long hair.  The children were grinning and giggling with nothing but sheer delight from the merry go round spinning by the force of a local merry go round attendant!  It was so quaint and delightful to watch! Those porch ponderings made me realize that I unfortunately had transitioned from "merry go round" being an absolutely delightful series of words to it being a dreaded state of confusion.  I honestly love merry go rounds and carousels! That is BY FAR my favorite ride at Disneyworld.  So, I have since realigned my Pavlovian response to sheer happiness with the thoughts of all things going around. I am now in the "seek and discover" process of any other sneaky little negatives that may have broken through the barriers!  Hence, I'll be writing with more frequency so I can figure out what I think!  ;-)
In keeping with the growth process and the quest for Balance (my word of this year), I have stepped right outside the comfort zone and begun a series of watercolor drawings.  I have had THE MOST FUN I can remember having by learning something new in ages and ages.  (similar to the fun on a merry go round - minus the horses)  So here is my first series of Quirky Birds.  (For info on the course, send me an email and I can forward it to you).  These birds are cousins, as I am sure you can tell.   They are all members of the HAT clan. 

These were learning lessons, of course.  I've never done anything like this before.  It was solid FUN.
 The 4th bird in the line-up (far right hand side) was drawn in honor of Brooke Dawkins.  During the time of her memorial service, I lit a candle and drew her bird.  And prayed for her peace. 
I have also been studying how to draw faeries.  It's a children's drawing course so I fit right in.  So much fun!  I have drawn about 8 mischievous little sprite samplings, but this one is my favorite so far.  She's not really finished.  I have more work to do on her, but am waiting for some special pens to arrive to finish the eyes and some effects.  One thing about learning a new "craft" is gathering all the new supplies! ;-)

I made a really fun messenger bag for a lovely artist to keep up with her sketch book, brushes, pens and etc., etc.  It was my first ever messenger bag and I'm thrilled with how it turned out.  And I am really intrigued with the geometric feature here.  Sewing AND geometry are most interesting together.  Oorah!

 And the bonus is she looks fabulous wearing it!  
Check out her IG feed @scribull for some of her art images.  And the photo of her wearing the bag.
Being on a roll of sorts, I made another messenger bag for a very sweet lady who wanted it to be REALLY big.  So she chose some fabric and to work I went.  It is fun to create new things in BIG and SMALL.  Hopefully everyone is happy.  Ladies and Gentlemen, in this particular situation, size IS relative. ;-) Just saying!

Then, while I was at the sewing machine, I made a lovely little sketchbook cover with a fun glass button for closure!

And I finally finished this cute little pink fluffy handwoven purse ... lined with the owl print from the big bag.  It is really sweet.  And when I get a shoulder strap on it, I will list it for sale.

So, the blogging has suffered because I cannot blog, weave, paint, design and sew at the same time.  Also there is this dance teaching, taking classes and workshops and all things dance that seems to be taking up some time ... beautiful delightful time, I might add!

A photo shot from the workshop last week --- so much fun!
The young lady front, far right was one of my (excellent) tap students back in the day
She started a tap company at University of Florida
 - last year there were 3, this year there are 29 members.
Check them out --- they totally rock
And they tap for a cause ... always a plus!
Thanks, Lauren! It was a great workshop!!!

OH! And I refinished a couple of tables!  Finally finished the turquoise dining table today, 3 coats of paint and 2 coats of varnish all together.  It looks fabulous!  And the t.v. table is coated with 3 coats of paint and one coat of varnish.  So after one more varnish coat, she can move inside and I can finally get the living room put together the way it has been in my vision! Yahoo! Progress is a great thing.  Photos to follow ... when all is said and done!
Meanwhile, I wish each of you a wonderfully happy spring, as today was day number 1! And a glorious day it was, too.  Always grateful!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Still Learning. Departed too soon.

(This image is from the Practicing the Presence through Mind and Meditation page on Facebook.  
I regret I do not know who to credit for the art.  It is beautiful)

In this little community of Conway in Orlando, FL ... the whole world just tilted on its axis with the loss of a young woman's life.  A loss that no one saw coming, no one wanted, and everyone is mourning.  Conway is a lovely little community in South Orlando (It is possibly east - I am geographically challenged).  The "kids" (people under 27) in this community are true warriors! They stick together, they love each other, they support each other and they promote goodness within the community.  Two years ago they lost 2 of their precious friends in an automobile accident.  A wonderful campaign "Always Wear Your Seatbelt" link here  was launched in honor of Laura and Eddie.  A community effort to promote safety amongst the teens who drive, and a way for the community to stay "hooked up" with their friends and the community.

About 2 weeks ago, another "child" of that era was involved in an automobile accident.  A UCF student, who was a pedestrian crossing the road, was struck by a truck.   Beautiful Brooke succumbed to the her injuries and went to meet with Laura and Eddie in a Kingdom way beyond our comprehension.  Her brother, Brody has authored the care pages link here with such a sense of responsibility and precision that would make anyone proud and heartbroken all at once.  And the family is faced with trying to decide how best to apply the donations that were originally supposed to go toward her recovery ... perhaps a scholarship ... something that will keep Brooke's honorable legacy in the community forever.  I cannot even imagine having to make a decision like that.  The Conway community is once again pulling together in faith, love and respect to comfort one another and make the loss worthy of meaning.

And this is what I am learning about this community:  It is rock solid.  It is filled with people who are rock solid.  I both admire and appreciate the group of wonderful people who keep the circle wide, (as if casting that net) ... and warm and familial with love, kindness and support.

I taught dance around here for a decade or so.  I knew these kids when they were younger, molding into the adults they are becoming now.  I am SO proud of the generation who is now taking charge of the community.  They had such wonderful examples from the parents, aunts & uncles, neighbors, teachers, business owners, etc.   But overwhelmingly so,  I am realizing that I am so very glad to be back in the Conway Community.  And I am truly learning that sometimes you just have to leave a place/situation to know and understand what you had, and whether or not you want to return to it.
In closing this post, I know there are thousands of broken hearts over these young people who departed our world way too soon (in our opinion).   I have such a strong knowing/belief that they have ascended to a wonderful paradise where they can hear your prayers and feel your love, and are protected from all else.  I don't often "go there" with religious positions on my blog.  But I know God wraps these kids in His arms and provides absolute love and peace for their souls and spirits.  And I offer you the vision of their complete and everlasting peace and tranquility during this very grief stricken and heartbreaking time.  
R.I.P. sweet Brooke.  May you dance through heaven with the angels and know how very dearly you  will always be loved here on earth.  
And as always, R.I.P. to Laura and Eddie, too. You are loved and missed every. single. day.  And I always wear my seatbelt.
God Bless you all,

fyi, This post is from my heart and my "need" to write about this subject.  It is not a solicited or paid article.  Back to art and such next time.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Time to Catch Up!

I know I've been shirking my blogging duties here.  Apologies all around. 
I won't bore you with the ins and outs ... moving on ... 

 So, we've moved in and almost settled into a routine here in the sunshine state of FL.  Working at home has been a transition but I'm adjusting and designing a schedule that works (mostly).  And, luckily my art time has been increased 10 fold.  Hooray! And there has not been any snow at all, whatsoever, none ... not one flake here at our happy home in Florida!  Happy, happy heart!

I've been in a painting mode ... for some unknown reason.  It isn't really my medium, but it's been what I've been in the mood to do.  So I'm going with it!
I took my very black, slightly distressed dining table to a happy turquoise!

I not only did it once, I did it twice!  I bought Valspar's primer and paint in one.  It is lovely to paint with.  But the black paint on the table didn't really take the new paint the way I was hoping.  So I sanded it all off, turquoise and black, down to the original brown (who knew that was there!) and started from scratch!  I'm smitten with her.  She's absolutely LOVELY, all bright and happy.  Now to get a rug that matches and recover the chairs in happy print.  It's a work in progress...and a fun project.  This house is just filled with light ... requires a happy, colorful interior. And it makes for a happy. productive atmosphere.   

lots of art work by friends, 
hanging on left side "Hope" sign and "heart with wings" hanging above by Chrissie Grace. 
"Fairy of Gratefulness" hanging on right side by Mystele
Pointe shoes sitting on left side of vanity by Cindy Michaud.  Saint Cheri sitting on right side of vanity is an image of the book cover, "Sainted & Painted, images of the not wholly holy"  written and illustrated by Cindy Michaud. 
Artemis, the cat on the bottom right hand corner, photo bombing.

The above vanity that was in dire need of a paint job.  I had previously painted it with chalk paint, but never got around to waxing it. It was a mess.  It needed some love. There was some gloriously pink/purple mistinted paint at Lowes that was just screaming "paint your vanity with me" ... so I did.  And it's beautiful.  Paul even commented that he liked it! Whoa.
I've made a couple of name plaques for very precious children.

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails ...

 Both of these plaques are for grandchildren of very special friends.

I've made an initial for our house.  I must comment that is is the MOST fun I've had doing art in a long, long time.  Doodling is fun, y'all!

I've finished tiling a stepping stone for a sweet friend and began another.  I love that it is warm enough here to glue and grout in February!  I am antsy to finish all the ideas for mosaics that are swimming around in my head!  Going to do some grout work today.  Can't wait to be outside and accomplish things at the same time.  And did I mention, it's February and it's warm enough to do these things? In absolute euphoria over here...

I played badminton and messed up my lower back, so weaving had to take a break. :-(  But badminton was fun and great exercise.  There is an entire community of badminton-ers here.  Paul is now amongst the masses.  He is loving it.
And I had a visitor from the past.  A sweet young man who we originally met in the mountains while he and some of his buddies were thru hiking the A.T.  They ended up in trouble from something they ate/drank that was tainted, so we took them in and made friends.  Tank and his mom were in FL and made their way over to visit.  It was a lovely reunion.  And Tank has added the PCT in the west to his hiking experiences.  I so admire anyone who can do what these young men have done.  True grit ...
walking around the country!  Not for the weak at heart. 

Oh, and Tank hiked the A.T. in his kilt. (Fabulous legs!)

I have about 4 thousand things to catch up on.  How can that be with everything I am finishing?  Adding to the list daily!  What are YOU up to?

In other news:
My sweet middle grandson celebrated his 12th birthday on Feb. 9th.  This is hard to believe.  Our boys are growing up so fast!  This guy has the brightest blue eyes you've ever seen.  And a charismatic smile that will melt you heart ... with a twinge of mischief that keeps you guessing!  Happy 12th birthday Cade!

My gorgeous daughter is in Spain for a LeBarre fitness event. She just landed this morning, so not much to report yet ...
My niece is in Dubai for a modeling gig for 4 months! She ran into this on the beach. Dance party with a camel! Gorgeous building! Every photo she posts is more beautiful than the one before.  What a wonderful experience for her! Go Hollie!

Lou Belcher (check out day 4 right here) is doing a fabulous painting series with the use of words that her followers sent in to her, which is MOST impressive after having done a 30 paintings in 30 days piece.  Take a journey through her writing and drawing.  It is a real treat!
The Vintage Home Studio (check her out here) is up and running, despite the snow, and you need to go visit Michelle in Wilkesboro as soon as you can get through the snow! So well worth your trip. Gorgeous hand made items from various artists and Michelle!
Cindy Michaud is back to using her right hand again!  And to give us all a perspecitve on just how she dealt with doing a left handed series, 30 paintings in 30 days, she wrote a wonderful article as a guest blogger.  Check it out, right here, right here! 
My husband brought me roses for Valentine's Day - a first!  They are luscious!

This is a photo a friend of mine dug up from 2009 ... we still have those big smiles.

My 3 cats have all been enjoying the FL sunshine.  The two insider boys have discovered outside.  They are all in absolute bliss ... and boy do they sleep well!!

The Dancer's Pointe dancers had a competition last weekend and rocked it!  Congratulations to all of you gorgeous dancers and your parents and teachers!  Love it when it all comes together! Susi Martucci and Kelly Salisbury certainly deserve their very own monuments for lovingly teaching dancers and running such a wonderful studio for all these years non stop.  You ladies are incredible!

My friend, Valerie Marozzi took me on my maiden voyage to this place! Holy cow! What an experience.  It was a fun girls' day ... but gracious! That is more people than I have seen in one place in years!  Wow! Cool stuff though!
Please visit Valerie's facebook page for Phresh Paint.  She is amazing at taking old and tired furniture and redoing it into a beautiful masterpiece of color and fine quality craftswomanship.  (I do not know how to link her facebook page up right here, but type Phresh Paint into the search space and her page will pop up).  Lovely stuff!  You're welcome.
And your thought to consider on this fine Wednesday:

(I am sorry, do not know who to credit for this)

All is well! and Life is Good!
Blessings to you all!


Monday, February 3, 2014


The story of my life. :-)

Changing location and therefore life style is filled with options!
Where to live * What to wear * Where to shop for food * How to get from point A to point B * 
Air Conditioning or Heat * What to do in which order * How to cook when you didn't pack your kitchen * How do you drive in real traffic * How do you maneuver a crowded store/restaurant/street * What to do with all the stimulation that comes from the bright lights and crazy activity!

It has been an exciting, adventure filled, colorful few weeks.  We are unpacked, which didn't really take long because we didn't bring much.  We are settling into the neighborhood and I can almost get to and from the studio without getting lost now.  The cats are settling in and showing signs of interest in studying outdoor life through the windows and even playing with each other and their stuffed mice again.  Mostly they nap.  I was in the space on the right side of the photo. They like to get up next to me. They bullied me out.

I am trying to remember how to dress in 80 degrees ... after being in the extreme winter climate it just seems wrong to pull out shorts and a t-shirt in January!  It's delightful. :-)

Most of all, I have great gobs of gratitude for being back in the land of warm imagination and creativity again.  Folks here are into the magic of Disney and such, and their lives are pleasantly ALIVE with enchantment and splendor.  There is an electricity in the air I have not felt in a very long time.  And the energy is healing and welcomed.

Reconnecting with friends and family has been so sweet.  There are so many children who I taught when we lived here before that have now grown into wonderful adults!  Some of them have children who are now coming to the studio to be ballerinas.  It's very nostalgic.  And beautiful to see and participate in.  But that is a blog for another day.  But I do love walking into a store and hearing "hi Mrs. Cheri" from a cashier who was a tiny ballerina when we first met.  It is sweet and reminds me of what it feels like to be "Mrs. Cheri". 

I have a home art studio in which I can create 'til my heart is content, or until I am so tired I can no longer hold my head up.   I have so many things to say grace over.  SO MANY.

First of all, I have woven on my loom!!
an iPad sleeve for my son-in-law who was supposed to get it for Christmas!
and I've begun this for the Weaving Room
A warp of Ribbon scarves ... which is proving to be challenging on my sweet ole loom with a beater too heavy for such delicate work ...

I got busy with a journal for a young lady who I do believe could benefit from having something special made just for her.  And I simply enjoyed every single minute of it!

I have hung the most lovely "be the best you" print series (here).  Lindsay has such a wonderful gift for making the best sayings into beautiful penned prints.  I LOVE her work!  And also so much art that I've collected from my friends who are artists now hang in the studio.  I've tried to absorb everything I possibly can from these women who have made my life so full of beauty and color.  (and great wisdom)

Today Cindy Michaud (here) and I got back to our stepping stone marathon.  Cindy has recently done a "30 paintings in 30 days" experience ... with the twist that she did it with her non dominant hand!  This lady was her final painting.  It is titled "embracing struggle".  This is my most recent realization.  Releasing the struggle we encountered in the mountains and living a new life.  Adapting.  It's not as easy as you would think!

It is amazing to be gluing and grouting in February! It is still snowing in NC ... so it seems crazy to me to be sitting in 80 degree weather working on "summertime" projects!  Amazing!  Cindy was kind enough to take some photos of me while I worked on my most recent commission ... 

This Dragonfly (above) is Cindy's work in progress! SO fun!

 Me in my happy place doing my very favorite art thing.

Making happy color filled things.
Yep - it's a Beautiful Life. 

Nurse Nina accepted a position at ORMC in the Ortho wing and we celebrated to our best ability.
 So proud of Nina!!!

Paul found a place to enjoy badminton again.  He looks good on the court ... and has a smile from ear to ear.  I love to watch him play.  He is all in!
Random - I love this photo! These ladies are gorgeous ...
There have been all kinds of things going on.  I spend a lot of time pinching myself to check out the new reality we are living in.  I am here to tell you, you just never know what's going to happen, when it's going to happen, or how.  But it happens ... life.  It's good.  

A "throw back" photo of my daughter and her son.
Jennifer and Christian running the race together.
But honestly, these three have fought the warrior's fight.
If you know their stories, you know why.
They are all miracles.
They are my personal super heroes.
 February is the month for love. It is a perfect time for me to be giving thanks for their lives. Thanks for God's grace and love.
Victor, Jenn & Christian, I love you bucket fulls.
My February fast is on. :-)
Blessings to all,