Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Brillante Weblog Award

WOW! A special thanks to Christy Hydeck for this extra special award. I "met" Christy on-line on the ZNE Network, on the Design Team. You'll be seeing her in all the art magazines everywhere and she has a great little on-line shop called Altered Abbey. If you are "into" mixed media, you will love it!

Here's all you have to do.....if you "win" this award!

Here are the rules for accepting this award:

1) Put the logo on your blog.

2) Add a link to the person who awarded you.

3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs

4) Add links to those blogs on yours

.5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blog.

I'm nominating

Pam Carriker: An emerging, inspirational artist, who is the featured artist in the newest edition of Stamper's Sampler, and a fellow ZNE Design Team Artist, you'll see her in Cloth Paper Scissors and all of the Somerset Studio publications. Check out her blog and art work, you'll love it!

SueAnn Lommler: She's a funky grandma who does art with her granddaughter and has incredibly cool red hair, that I am so jealous of, if I only had the nerve! She is a member of the ZNE Book Club and I love her responses.

Kristy Christopherson has a wonder blog, Kristy's Musings, with beautiful art work, and a great art quote of the day, which I enjoy reading. Kristy is a ZNE Design Team member and a member of Inka Stamps Design Team.

Amy Steinberg of Charming Sam Studios, she has a great blog and shop and donated images recently to ZNE's Castle in the Meadow in Detroit Michigan, in early June! I've also swapped "stuff' with her group on Marmalade Pink Network. Very cool, check it out!

Cathy Minerva of minervas madness. I met Cathy on the ZNE network and then LIVE at the Castle in the Meadow event. Wow, many cool people. She has wonderful art displayed on her blog and she steps outside the box and takes artistic risks and makes it all work! And she loves her family and friends!

Bernice Wagnitz another wonderful ZNE friend, who is all about ZNE Dolls and Poetry and needs some TLC. I met Bernice at the Castle in the Meadow as well. What a gift the ZNE network is to all of us.

Chelise Stroud Hery the fabulous mixed-media artist who brought me into contact with all of the above mentioned people, turned me on to mixed-media and allowed me to expand my art world. I love her, her enthusiasm for life and ....her tattoo! ( I know she has won a billion blog awards, but can you really have too many?)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Gulfport, Mission Trip, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Our Church mission trip to Gulfport, Mississippi was a huge success. Check out the church blog for more stories.

Check out this lovely outfit. That shirt has been on 5 mission trips. San Antonio, where we built wheelchair ramps, D'Iberville, Mississippi for Hurricane Katrina clean -up, Houma, Louisiana for Hurrican Rita clean-up, Welch, West Virginia and now....Gulfport, Mississippi.

I learned how to operate this table saw and how to cut left inside and outside mitered corners and of course right inside and outside mitered corners. Pretty cool! Still have fingers and toes!

Our group completed a lot of the finish work on this home for the McGrew Family. We installed base board, quarter round, door trim, light fixtures, ceiling fans, floor transitions, closet doors, door knobs, porch lights, caulked baseboard, painted trim.
Whewww....I've lost track.Their trailer had been knocked off of its pilings by the storm, and also lost its roof. It of course rained in a great deal and damaged everything. The family will be moving in to this new home in about a week. It has taken about 7 weeks to complete. All volunteer labor except for the electrical connections and plumbing installation.

The folks in Gulfport are amazing. I'm impressed by the ordinary people who work together to rebuild their community in such an extraordinary way

It was an honor to work with the 15 other participants from my church on this project. Looking forward to next year, wherever that may be!

Out of Chaos ....... Hope!

Check back here for more stories!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

July 19 - 26, 2008 Mission Trip OHPC

Saturday July 19, I am heading off to Gulfport, Mississippi with a group of friends from Oak Hill Presbyterian Church. We will be doing Hurricane Katrina recovery work with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. This will be a great technological experiment. I am going to post to "twitter" from my cell phone and "text" photos to my friends Iris and George to post to the church "twitpic" account. Don't ask me to explain how it works. We just hope it does. So you can check here for a photo or two, and some twitter comments. Keep us in your prayers, on many levels. We'll be thinking of all of you!

Check the side bar for more updates....or visit

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

ZAFTIG - continued

More Zaftig pages and they are all completed! Thirty of them...on their way to the Land of ZNE in Pleasanton, California.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Content with the contents and the container

The ZNE Book Club is working with Suzanne Simanaitis' book Kaleidoscope, ideas and projects to spark your creativity. I have the honor of being the book club assignment coordinator. You would think I could do my own assignments. I am of course behind. Getting ready to go on a mission trip, finishing up work with the BRO and today was at lunch with my retired teacher's group.

We are to discuss the concept of artist vs. crafter, what are the differences and what do we consider ourselves. I'm still struggling with calling myself artist. But I think I am more than a crafter. Crafter is not a bad thing, crafters and artists are both creative, and obviously produce a quality finished product. I THINK, I don't KNOW, that the artists creation MAY be more original thought, requiring inovation perhaps. And now writing this I am disturbed by the whole discussion. My friend Iris, considers herself a "technician" she admits she is not real creative, she doesn't come up with the original idea. ( Sometimes she does and they are lovely). She says she will take the idea and will crank out as many as you need, exactly alike and well executed, and she does. She is not an artist. She says she is not an artist. Maybe the whole thing about being an astist is saying and believing it to be so. I am still working on that.

Included here is a poem and a visual representation of the poem, that I wrote in 2003 at a workshop during the 2003 churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women, Louisville, KY. I took this class with Nikki Williams, New York.

Content With The Contents and The Container

Blue Jean Babe
wears no dresses
only cotton
NO polyester

Hot Flash!

Really big shoes….
Give me cake the size of my shoes!

Hot Flash!

Really big shoes
Give me CHOCOLATE the size of my shoes!

I wear my feelings on my sleeves
There’s a message on my chest
(and love in my heart)

I use to wear a vest.
(God’s not done with me yet.)

Hot Flashes….Limit the vest
Now I sweat with the BEST!

Here’s my hair
It’s wash and wear

My glasses
Well….they just…sit there!
They help me to see
Can you see what’s inside of me?
(God knows)

My hands craft quilts
My voice sings praise

There’s not enough time
for All these days

Time to Draw

Cut fabric


Never do what you’re told.

Donna Cook July 11, 2003

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Church Doodle #1

I really want to do the art journaling thing. I always start a journal and then get distracted....for months, then start a new one.....get distracted for months...then start a new one, or buy a new one, and think this must be really special....must save it for some occassion that never happens. You get the picture.

So I am trying again. I've decided to start a series I will call Church Doodle ( my apologies to Pastors Chris and Alan at There are always great sounds bytes in their sermons, or lines from scripture or songs that inspire something....I need to build on that. I have made some church banners in the past, and make baptism banners for the kids when they are baptised.

This particular church doodle makes me think of a drawing I did in Kindergarten, I remember drawing a house, with bubbles coming out of the window, and the bubbles had those little rectangles that looked like window. For some reason the drawing disappeared and I didn't get to take it home. Sigh...I have spent the rest of my life ( not really) trying to duplicate that drawing. Anyway I vividly remember it.

I decided to start my church doodle series by remembering that drawing, I confess, I did this during th sermon. I sit in the choir loft, no one can see me. It did help me concentrate on the sermon. I have some key points in the lower right section. Be good when the seeds of God's love is spread over you, you are ready to accept, do not be discouraged...especially if growth is slow...leave the rest to God. Not a bad thought on many levels. SOOOO see I did listen. The text around the drawing is "thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path".....the song that lovely Kim sang today.

The bulletin is almost always a sketch of the church, that has been screaming to me for some time"ALTER ME". Probably shouldn't tell folks that the bulletin cover speaks...or that I hear those voices. But you get the idea.

Below is a Pentecost banner I made 10 years ago, and a baptism banner from 2 years ago.

I'm heading off to Gulfport, Mississippi on Saturday with our church Mission Team, so church doodles will be put on hold. We will be visiting the Gulfport Presbyterian Church, maybe they have a doodle-able church bulletin. Check back later!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Coneflowers, Bumblebees and Habitat for Humanity

A fun close-up of a coneflower in my garden, complete with bumble bee. I use the word garden loosely. I transplanted these flowers from another area of the yard last year. They had been planted 8 or 10 years ago, next to the river birch tree. The river birch has grown and grown, and in retrospect I probably planted it too close to the house. It's about 17 years old. But it's doing it's job, shading the house. We have a full western exposure on the front of the house, so it can get hot in the summer in the evening. The trees really shade the house, and I think make the house cooler. While shading the house, the river birch also shaded the coneflowers. The last few years there have just had a few wimpy blooms. So, last year, I transplanted them to the side of the garage, next to my lavender. They are very happy there I think!

Tomorrow our church mission team is heading out to the Habitat for Humanity Blitz Build in St. Louis. Then July 19 we are heading to Gulfport, Mississippi for more Hurricane rebuilding.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

July 6 - 17 Years! ( ok, it's late! )

Rick & Donna Fort Fisher, North Carolina
July 6th we celebrated our 17th Anniversary! It was otherwise a normal day. We went to church in the morning, lunch out with friends at ....yes....Burger King. And an evening at home with TV and the internet. Ahhhh married bliss.

We were married at my brother's home in 1991. A small wedding with about 30 people. It was a delightful day! We spent our "honeymoon" on a bus Tours. It was great. We toured west to Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Baniff National Park in Canada, back south to the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore, and lovely small towns and sites inbetween. Lovely people along the way and on the tour.

So it has been a fun, active and wonderful 17 years. I can't think of another way to spend the time, or another person to spend it with. We enjoy travel and time with family and friends, church activities , . Rick is a big Civil War buff. And as you can tell I love mixed media art, scrapbooks and crafts.

Now on to the next 17 and more!

The photo features a scrapbook page I made in 2007. Photo from 2006. I submitted the page for a contest. Unfortunately they didn't return pages. But I have the photo. Maybe someday I'll make another. It was a fun trip to Fort Fischer in North Carolina.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Believe it!

Today is See It Say It Saturday on the ZNE BLOGZ. ZNE celebrates the mixed media artist, and all artists of every genre are welcome. That love and acceptance is what I love about ZNE.

This is my first effort at a digital scrap book page. I continue to struggle to figure out Photo Shop Elements. So I did this one on Print Master. And it is pretty simple. But I think minimal is sometimes good.

The ZNE Design Team picked the SISIS art selections back in February. We were each assigned several weeks throughout the year. The wonderful work shown here, of birds and a bird house was created by Fran Burras. This piece was selected by Kat Tarra. Kat was caught unawares with out her art supplies while out of town and I stepped in and covered for her week.

I was thinking a lot about these birds and their bird house and how one of the birds is bringing elements to the other bird for nest building, they are obviously building this nest together. No doubt, building a special place where their baby birds will be loved and nurtured. It makes me think of my father,(and my mother) on several levels. First Dad was an avid bird watcher, complete with binoculars, bird books, bird houses, bird feeders. He loved them. I remember once as a little kid, there was a sickly pigeon in our yard. Dad knew he couldn't help it, but he coaxed it into the garage, thinking in the morning it would be dead. I know he was thinking that the bird could die peacefully, and not be eaten by the neighborhood cats or dogs. In the morning, he went out to the garage, opened the door, and the bird hopped out of the garage and flew away. It said a lot to me about how to treat others. Do what you can to help, relieve suffering where you can, be kind, always. It was how my dad lived. Do what you can with the gifts that you have and be kind always.

I think....I know... that my dad loved us, and did all he could to create a home filled with abundant love, where we would be safe against all the evils of the world. I found another picture with this one today. We're at a lake, I'm about 3 or 4 years old. I probably wanted to stand on that wall. You can see my dad holding on to me for dear life. He is not going to let me fall!

But back to the top of the page. There is the photo showing my father's ultimate love, something I believed in everyday. I know my mom took the photo, only a mom could take that that way. She probably took the May 1957 photo, too.

My folks both passed away in 2006, about 10 weeks apart. They were in their 80s, lived full and happy lives. They had what they needed. How do you ever let their deaths go. I had them thru all of my growing up years and until I was 53. I have friends who lost parents when they were still in elementary school and when they were in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. They were all too soon. Some days, I still can't let go of the grief . I know that is normal. I am always reminded of their gifts to me. I always will be reminded. I try to celebrate their lives every day.

The morning of my father's death, he watched the sun come up, my brother and I were with him, there was a female cardinal at the bird feeder outside the window of his hospice/nursing home room. I know it was my mom saying "Come on , Joe, let's fly away home."

So Fran's work here of the sunny day, of mom and dad building
a home filled with love...something that is to be believed against the whole world....makes me think of my family and their love for me. Thanks Fran for the gentle reminder of love, home and family.

We Are Famous Glamorous ZAFTIG Artists

More ZAFTIG Book Pages for the ZNE Convenzione Swap. This is the "WE are Famous Glamorous Artist" Collection. As I have mentioned, I am using the infamous "supplies on hand" stash of stuff! I had coffee/tea stained, these tags for my soldered scrabble tiles for the Charm swap at the Castle in early June, and had a few left. I made several of the page with the old car and the checked background. The photo is of my dad and his sister, mother and step grandfather. I had printed a page full for some special project that would present itself...and here it is. There are several versions of it with different sized photos or different colored ribbon. The checked background is from the vintage playing card stash...what don't I have a stash of in the basement?
The Tea party scene is a ZNE collage sheet image. And the chip board heart is from some Valentine ATCs I made and actually sold on ebay several years ago. The twin girls and girl-y threesome are Dover clip art images that had been hanging around waiting to embellish a project. The background paper with the twins is from my nephew's rehersal dinner invitations that I made two years ago.
The stamp "we are famous glamorous artists" is from Stamp Francisco. The ribbons and fibers are from my ribbon and fiber stash, of course!
There is still time to sign up for the swap and get your pages in the mail, if you can't attend the convenzione!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

ZNE Book of the Month Club

Do you love art books? Do you have several ( lol) on your shelf, and you've only looked at the pictures? Have you been meaning to try out some of the projects and techniques? Do you find that your spouse or significant other, or other family members are really tired of saying, "Oh, that's nice!" in response to your asking "Well, what do you think?" As you hold up your latest creation, beaming, and waiting for their glowing response?

I think the dumbest thing I do ( well one of the dumbest, we won't make a list here, today, anyway) is show my dh a stack of ATCs or cards or dresses from a swap, and then ask him "Dear, which one do you think is the best?" He knows it is really code for "Pick mine out of this batch, buddy!" and that he is doomed!

So join us in the ZNE BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB. Each month, or so, we work together through an art book. This month is Kaleidoscope by Suzanne Simanaitis. Each week there will be an assignment posted from the featured book. It will include reading a selection, a writing prompt and an art project. Maybe an extra credit assignment! Then you post your response to the prompts and post photos or scans of your art. We discuss ideas and each other's responses and work on the ZNE Book Club Boards, and then those are edited and posted to the ZNE BOOK CLUB BLOG.
It's a great way to try out new ideas. techniques, meet new friends, and get feedback from someone besides your relatives.

I have been given the opportunity to be, as Chel describes on the Book Club Blog, "The Fabulous Assignment Coordinator" (I'm pretending that Fabulous is included in the title or perhaps she means the assignments are fabulous, nonetheless, I shall use it anyway!!)

You can sign up for the Book Club on the Book Club Blog. There is a special deal for those who were in the last selection's session, so check out the Discussion Boards. Every participant will get a "Party Favor", admission to the ZNE Book Club Room ( Discussion forum, just for registered participants, a coordinated collage kit from the ZNE STORE, and $10 of your entrance fee will go to Bernie Berlin's " A Place To Bark"

Many of you know Bernie Berlin as the fabulous mixed media artist and author of "Artist Trading Card Workshop"

Hope to see you in the Book Room. We go "Live" on Monday, July 7, 2008.

Extra Thanks go to: Claudine Hellmuth for the kind permission to use her artwork, above.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

ZAFTIG - Under Construction

Under construction! Finally time to work on some art. These are chunky book pages. Zaftig Chunky Book Pages. So...the book will be deliciously plump, and carry its extra weight very well! AHHH don't you love that definition!

zaftig : Deliciously plump, or carrying your extra weight very well.

Zaftig Chunky Book pages measure 4 by 4 inches. One should allow about 1/4 - 1/2 inch on the left side for binding. I'm suppose to make 30. Here is what has happened so far. I have posted a couple before, but I have since added to them. Some of these are still under construction.

These are going to be sent off to California in a couple of weeks! ( Before July 19, as I am heading out on the mission trip with church that day...we're heading to Gulfport, Mississippi to work with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. Wow....that's coming up here pretty quickly, we'll be back July 26.)

I digress...of course. I am trying to make the pages from "supplies on hand". There is an over abundance of "supplies on hand". But if you are an artist/craft person, you know the hazards of a new project and the desire that over comes your common sense and makes you head out to Red Lead or one of those cool on-line stores like Altered Abbey, and you just have to buy something new for the occasion, with some women it's shoes. I can't find shoes to fit, but I can find art supplies problem!

Plus, with the money I'll have that much more to spend at the Art, Paperie & Pleasantries Fair held on Sunday August 24, in Pleasanton, California. ( Yet another ZNE Convenzione Event!)

The Zaftig Book Swap is another exciting feature of the ZNE Convenzione!