Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Tornadoes and thunder storms have defined life here in Oklahoma for the past few weeks.  Yet again, the bed shaking, window rattling rolls of thunder woke me long before the alarm.  Each day I am thankful that the tornadoes have avoided the Tulsa area.

I have been away from my blog for quite some time, but this morning I put my ruby slippers on and clicked them three times before taking my coffee upstairs with the promise that even thirty minutes is better than zero. There are a million excuses for not writing, or creating for that matter.  My family is experiencing a number of changes this year, and I decided that I need to make some changes myself.  I cannot simply allow insignificant excuses determine my days any longer. So, with the rain coursing down the skylights and the household still quiet and asleep I came upstairs to put pen to paper.  After all, “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” Aristotle.

I mentioned that my household is changing; whose isn’t?  After all, life itself is one series of changes after another, and my daughter turns 12 this month!  Talk about some changes.  Clothing shopping has become a consumer nightmare- we want to buy her nice clothes but either she doesn’t like them or they can’t be found in her size.  Thankfully, she does not ask for clothing and piercings, or even nail polish for that matter.  She loves her books and fish.  That inspired me this morning.  Her favorite fishy topic is the deepest depths where the oddest fish of all live, and nothing else.  (We both find this fascinating.  I may have posted my original hand carved Angler Fish stamp artwork in the past- if not, it will be a future post.)  But this morning I tried my hand at a whimsical drawing with a young girl wearing an angler fish hat.  A fashion accessory I know my daughter would embrace.

Ta for today,

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Killer Shoes

 The platform heels with peek-a-boo toes and a rosette felt fine for the thirty seconds I wore them in the store.  But the moment my feet hit the parking lot, the elven enchantment that made them bearable in the store dissolved,  leaving me with shoes that cut into the flesh of my big toes carving ugly red welts.    “But they are CUTE!!” screamed the sadistic fashionista inside my head.  So I decided to man up and wear them anyway.  After all, I had spent a fortune on little adhesive foam inserts that promised to make every heel a comfort shoe.  So, I put those cute little stickers inside the toes, grabbed my planner and to-do list, and set out to conquer my day in style. 

After to-do-list item number two the red welts on my toes threatened to become weeping open sores.  That’s when reason triumphed.  Life is too long for cute shoes.  Heck, the DAY is too long for cute shoes!  At only 11:00 am, I knew that I could not possibly make it to noon in the torturous contraptions slung across the back of my heels.  So, feeling a little defeated, but wiser, I drove home and placed the shoes in their box (which proudly bore the logo “Breaking hearts since 1981!”  I think they meant breaking feet and spirits.).  The box now perches atop the pile of cast-offs destined for Goodwill.

I pulled my cowboy boots on.  I admit they ARE cute.  So, I guess not all reasonable shoes are unattractive, but let’s face it- heels and platforms and peeking-toes speak a whole different language than cowboy boots, athletic shoes, and anything bearing the name KEEN.  I am pretty sure you wouldn’t catch Carrie Bradshaw dead in a pair of KEENS, my go-to shoe when I developed Morton’s neuroma.

I love great shoes, shoes with color, shoes with height, shoes that dare to be noticed.  But as much as I love shoes, I detest limping through a 12 hour day as the victim of pinched toes and nerves and angry blisters.  And I bitterly resent the agony of carrying all my body weight on the inadequate balls of my feet.  Whose brilliant idea was that?  Surely some brave style house will embrace a modest 2”- 2.5” heel again, soon, before I have to replace my KEENS with SAS.

Look, it's happy me wearing boots!  The image is from Greeting Farm.  I just love those guys & gals!  The swell die cut trim on the left is from Die-namics, and I think it is my favorite die right now.  It comes out perfectly every time! This boot wearing gal will be even happier when the mailman rings my bell with a shipment of new Copics.  I have been waiting for a week!

Put your comfy shoes shoes on and Rule Your World!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Treasure Box

I don’t know about you, but I am sorely missing an hour of time.  Where does that hour go each Spring?  If I dislike the first Sunday of Daylight Savings Time, then I ABHOR the first Monday.  The alarm sounds and darkness still filters through the curtains.  On Monday I am suffering from Sunday’s  whiplash of checking conflicting clocks.  One says I am an hour early, “thank goodness,” then the other says I am an hour late, “oh snap!”  Which one? Which one?!  I feel a little like Alice and the white rabbit must have felt down the rabbit hole.  The kids drag their feet a little more, even the dogs are content to sleep awhile longer.

But I have had my morning cup, the kids are off to school, the hubby is off to the office, the dogs have had breakfast, and the second load of laundry churns away.  That’s a perfect start!  This morning I have been sifting through cards that I have made through the years and never used.  Do you have that problem?  Either I liked them too much to let go, or I didn’t like them well enough, or I made them too late, or way too early.  Whatever the reason, I have a photo box of these cards.  So this morning I am sorting through them.  I have decided to donate some to Operation Write Home.  Are you familiar with this organization?  This will be my first donation to them, but it sounds like a great organization.  They provide servicemen and women with handmade cards to send home to loved ones.  

The bulk of that photo box of cards will arrive in a desert somewhere, others will never make it past my recycle bin, and then there are those cards that I plan to keep -  and I am so excited about their new home! Last month I discovered treasure at an office furniture store, a used file box.  You remember the card catalog at the library and those nifty little drawers.  (The store had some of those by the way, but I couldn’t come up with anything to store in them.)  Well this card file holds 6x8 note cards.  That single purchase has eliminated several shoe boxes and photo boxes from my shelves!  I was truly giddy when I brought my black box home.  If you have a store in your town that specializes in used office furniture, you should visit.  You never know what you will find.  
I have filed envelopes and pre-folded card stock in one side and am filing completed cards in the other.  My file dividers are not fancy, just some comic backer boards cut to size and another piece of backer board die-cut and glued on to form a tab. Some days I believe that organizing my supplies is more of a hobby than actually creating things!  Anybody else in that boat?

Have a great week! Renee

Friday, March 1, 2013

Guardian of Imagination

 I recently lost Crafty Mojo.  I went through all the usual channels- I stood on street corners calling to Mojo.  I mass-produced generic fliers.  I called the local shelter which, like me, had not seen my Mojo.  And so I began looking in the dusty corners of my internet.  I knew Crafty Mojo was lurking somewhere, but where?

Occasionally I saw a blur at the edge of my vision or heard a scuffle just out of sight, and as insubstantial as these experiences were, they sustained my hope that I would find Crafty Mojo again.  Last week I sighted the pitiful beast.  He appeared thin, timid, and unwilling to approach.  So, I have been luring him ever closer with the promise of sweet treats and a warm home.

While frequentling his usual haunts and only-once-in-a-blue-moon venues I stumbled across a gargoyle/guardian challenge.  It presented itself as the perfect invitation to Crafty Mojo.  I had  purchased some digital gargoyle stamps last year and even printed them for a coloring afternoon.  But the thought of coloring gargoyles intimidated me and I had no specific use for them.  (I am pretty sure that purchase qualifies the title of "hoarder".) This challenge gave me the push I needed to bring at least one gargoyle to life, work on some of those shading skills presented at my last Copics workshop (see my new button?), and convince Mr. Crafty Mojo to come home to Mama.

I began by coloring my Gargoyle- but the results only disappointed me.  Crafty Mojo tucked his tail and dipped his head with a whimper.   I tucked the gargoyle away for a couple days in order to contemplate the next maneuver.  Crafty Mojo watched from the corner, ready to dart at the slightest provocation.  A couple days went by before I realized that the answer had been sitting open on my desk all along in the guise of my art journal.  I would finish the gargoyle, no matter what, then use him in an art journal page.  The informality of the journal format excuses all mistakes.  It actually turns ugly art into an excusable and passable form of pretty- at least in my estimation.  After all, a journal is for me- no one else. 

In the end the page satisfied me enough to submit it to the Gruesome Guardian Challenge.  And Crafty Mojo? Well, he is still in his corner gnawing away on my bone folder. 

Check out the other great (and definitely more gruesome) entries at  You may decide to play along.  But you will have to hurry as the challenge ends Sunday.  So here is my entry…

Guardian of Imagination-

While I am aware this entry falls into the “tolerable category” rather than gruesome, I am willing to live with that.  While creating this page I began as a lament and then segued into a supplication that my children retain their active imaginations.  And as I completed it I realized that I had come full circle in a desperate attempt to revive and preserve my own imagination.  There is a duality in the tower of books as well; as I see the move to a digital age as another attack on the already crumbling 
 pages of art and literature.  But let’s stick to the basics today.  I included some of my children’s favorite books in the tower and put a comic book in my son’s hand.  Litte C. Mojo sits in front of the tower, and I hope that my gargoyle keeps him safe also.

Stamp credits:  gargoyle is from Saturated Canary

 Guard your imagination well!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cake Pops VS Gravity

I promised my daughter we would try out the cake pop maker from Santa after the sugar induced coma of the holiday season wore off.  And then I promised myself I would keep that promise as soon as our elementary school fundraiser (my full-time volunteer head-ache) had passed.  So, on Feb. 12, I gathered all the necessary supplies- sticks, wrappers, candy melts, sprinkles, and I unpacked the machine.  While she was at school, I prepared our pink rotating cake pop baker for its maiden voyage.

We followed all the tips and directions.  We chilled the cake balls and dipped the sticks in melted coating before inserting them into the well chilled, but not frozen, confections.  We chilled the cake pops again, per instructions.  And still we met with mishaps and misfortune!  The first indicator (besides the unspoken law of the crafting/cooking/building universe- “it’s never as simple as it looks”) that our cake pops would not resemble the perfect sugary spheres in the book appeared when we dipped our very first cake pop into the coffee mug of melted candy coating.  Our first attempt resulted in a coating so thick it fell off in great chunks.  And because our optimism had high-jacked our common sense, we poured our heart shaped sprinkles into the still molten pink lava flow of candy coating.   (The book TOLD us to put the sprinkles on while the coating was still warm.)  Heart shaped boulders slid down the surface of the cake ball gathering more hearts and more coating until the sugary sludge dropped from the cake ball.

We couldn’t be discouraged.  After all, it was only our first cake pop.  Ever the problem solver, I decided we needed shortening in our candy melts.  So, I added more candy melts, some Crisco, popped the mug back into the microwave and prepared to try again.  This seemed to work a little better, though we had to work quickly.  After dipping all the cake balls and placing them in their holders we watched the balls begin to drop.  Just like the New Year’s orb, these round confectionary spheres slithered straight down.  But unlike the celebratory ball drop which always ends in confetti, fireworks, and cheers, our little orbs left only crumb coated sticks rooted firmly in mounds of pink sugared cake and a sigh of resignation from its audience.

We only lost three to gravity- so I guess the experiment succeeded.  The next morning my daughter tied red ribbons on a few and gifted them- proudly.  She claimed that they looked just like the ones we buy at the bakery.  (Thank goodness for cellophane bags and ribbon!)  Did I mention that I found a bowl of forgotten cake balls in the freezer a week later?  Poor things never even had the chance to become beautiful cake pops.  That was Valentines.  I can only imagine what St. Patrick’s Day will bring.  If you have any tips for us before then, we could sure use some along with a little luck.
 Defy gravity!