Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Incredible ACEOs!

ACEOs are amazing!  Art Cards Editions and Originals (ACEOs) are similar to Art Trading Cards (ATCs), except that ACEOs are for sale.  They have been around for many years.  But what's so incredible about them, you ask?  Well... for a start... 
  • First, it's the compact size.  2.5 inches by 3.5 inches (6.4 cm x 8.9 cm), roughly the size of a standard playing card or sports trading card. 
  • Then add that they can be created in any media.
  • Don't forget that any style is also fair game.
  • Sometimes you can even win them which is super cool!
Tiny little incredible works of art!  Like these ~

ACEOs I won from the 7 Card Draw on Etsy.
I won all of these!  Fantastic!  The 7 Card Draw Team on Etsy is all about winning ACEOs - and it's open to anyone.  Check out the details on the team page.  My generous 7 Card Draw friends even sent me little extras along with their Incredible ACEOs - all tucked inside some beautiful greeting cards!  

Want to see what I mean about Incredible ACEOs?  Take a peek ~

Here are three ACEO prints.  All very different and very creative!  Isn't Pam's purple flower fun - so whimsical!

ACEO Prints
Jeanne's lively poppy artwork is a print of a lovely larger painting she did in watercolor.  Mmmmm!  and we all know how much I enjoy watercolor!


Sandra created her beautiful abstract ACEO on her computer - digitally!

"Blue Wave"
Pam sent me her sweet little purple flower (above) as an extra gift when I won this delightful original watercolor painting ~

"Pretty Purple"

Betty added this charming little original mixed media painting with a little bit of collage.  Who could resist this sweet face?

"A Tender Glance"

Speaking of mixed media - check out Linda's gorgeous impressionistic landscape done with colored pencil and gel pens.

"After Giverny"
The creativity just keeps on coming, too!  Check out Lee's incredible original woven paper ACEO, "Fern", on the right.  The beautiful print on the left is a reproduction of her larger painting, "Down Under".  WOW!!!

"Down Under" and "Fern"

Marlene sent me a very fun two sided ACEO original drawing.  Well, that really makes it two drawings in one!

the front...
and the back!

Marlene added a gift, too - this beautiful pencil drawing, "Plum"!

I feel so blessed!  What beautiful ACEOs to add to my collection!  But do you want to know what I like even better?  All the very fun friends I've made in this great group!  Drop by the 7 Card Draw Team and meet them, too!
Jeanne ~ nannysroom
Linda ~ LindaTalbott
Betty ~ pinkglitterfae
Sandra ~ nitelvr

See what I mean?  ACEOs are Incredible!

Happy Creating!

Sunday, May 27, 2012


I was issued a challenge* through the Blogging Business Artisans to incorporate my favorite inspiration into a project of my choice.


I am inspired by a lot of things.  My family...


My father served in the Navy during WWII.  It seems fitting to mention this on Memorial Day.  He enlisted to insure that freedom in this nation would be preserved for his family.  That was only one way in which my father inspired me. 

Margie is another inspiration to me.  She is family to me even though we don't have any relatives who are related.  Margie will be 91 years old this year, and, though she has had to give up some of her activities, she is still very active and definitely a person who inspires me tremendously.

Joni Eareckson Tada inspires me, too.  Artist, writer, singer, speaker, world traveler, and leader of Joni and Friends and all of their various ministries to the disabled.  Oh, and by the way - she is a quadriplegic.  Since 1967 she has been paralyzed from the neck down.

Some people I have never met (though I feel like I have met them!) inspire me because they put their heart and lives on the line for what they believe.   For instance, Shannon and her family are adopting two 6 year old European children who have never met each other and who don't speak much English. Check out her blog, Copperlight Wood, for this incredible story.

Or check out Reece's Rainbow and see people who are moving mountains one grain of sand at a time.

Look at my grandchildren... Please ;-) Their parents are really awesome, too, and their heart for adoption inspires me.
The beauty that I see around me inspires me.

Beautiful Summer Evening - original watercolor ACEO
The amazing variety of wildlife and companion critters certainly inspires me.

Hershey in Winter - original watercolor

God inspires me.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1 NET


Obviously there isn't one thing that inspires me.  There are many people, places, things, animals, websites, and... well, the list goes on and on. 

A blog post may inspire me to write.  My daughter may inspire me to paint.  A sunset may inspire me to be still and collect my thoughts. 

And online friends whom I have never met in person have inspired me to put it all together and write about it.

Thank you, Sharla, for this inspiring challenge that motivated me to create this little 'blog project'!


*May Challenge - Sharla (Beaded Tail) - Inspirations
Your challenge is to incorporate your favorite inspiration into a project of your choice.
Are you inspired by nature? Create something to show how nature makes you feel!
Do your kids motivate you? Have them join you in a crafty project!
Do your pets "help" you with your craft? Let's see their pawsome contributions!
Have fun just letting your inspiration lead you to do something crafty!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Funtry Friday 'round the block

You just never know what you will find lurking around out here...

Paulden frog rock art

A bit south of Paulden (which means the Pink Place and the PO) and just north of the bridge before Sullivan Lake (which really isn't a lake) is this painted frog rock art.  I guess someone thought we should have one since Skull Valley has one.

Skull Valley frog rock art
It's a start, but we have a long way to go, because Skull Valley has a lot of funky painted rock art.  Check out Granny J's blog post, Route of the Painted Rocks, to see some really cool pictures of what's 'off road' out there.  She posted some closer shots of this big guy, too.

Meanwhile back in Chino Valley, the Prescott Valley Art Guild had a nice collection of artwork on display for the Windmill Farms Springfest.  Yep - this is where my little truck painting was showing off its colors.

Prescott Valley Art Guild display

Out on the road at Sunset Point, the smoke from the Crown King fire was still coloring the air brown this week.

Crown King fire

And the view from my back porch says the winds today didn't help the firefighters north of me...

smoke from the fires north of me

Yeah, you are supposed to be seeing hills out there...  Keep all those firefighters and those in the path of the fires in your prayers, please!

Hope you all have a fun and safe weekend - and a great Funtry Friday!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How I got from my photograph to my frame.

I like to paint using my own photographs as reference.  I pass this old truck a lot and I thought that it would make a great painting.  Well, I thought that it would be a good beginning to a painting, to be more accurate.

Yep, this old truck runs, too!

I had also seen another old truck down in Phoenix which was in a driveway.  There was a tree and lots of plants around it which made a great contrast to the look of the rugged old truck.  I decided to add some plants and a tree around this truck to change up the background and add some color to the foreground.  I also decided to focus on painting only part of the truck so that I would have a strong center of interest.

Good Memories - original watercolor painting

After I put all the plants around, the wall on the right side of the painting seemed kind of bare.  I didn't want to add any more trees or plants though, because there was enough green color in the painting already.  I decided that a sign would be kind of fun, but it still looked like something was missing after I painted the sign - so I added the potted plant on the hood of the truck.

If I had left the painting like this it would have still been off balance, but during the painting process I had decided to crop the image even more.  As I painted, I kept putting the mat over the painting to see what I needed to do next.  (If you decide to do this, watch out for wet paint.  Don't let it get on your mat!)

After I was happy with the way the painting looked in the mat, I slipped the mat and the painting in the frame to see what the overall effect would be.  At this point, there is no glass in the frame because this is just a 'test run' to see if it looks okay.

Good Memories - in the mat and frame with no glass
Yep.  I like it.  I have successfully survived the 'ugly stage' that every painting seems to go through *rolls eyes* and passed on to something I like.  Cropping the painting really helps to keep the eye moving well through the composition.  And, nope, it doesn't look exactly like the photograph, or the yard and plants around the other truck - but that is a good thing.   My photograph was basically a 'sketch' - a starting point - a way to get to a finished painting that is ready to be framed.  The frame, mat, and painting all look like they belong together.  It's a 'go'!

Good Memories - framed

"Good Memories" is all framed up and ready to hang on the wall!  Now it can bring back some 'good memories' to someone who loves old trucks.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Love in action!

You have probably seen "them".

Or, maybe you knew about one of "them" personally.

Could be someone close to you.

Could be you.



You want to do something. But what?

Well, here is a simple little something that you can easily do.  Get brave. 
  • You can collect items that will help those who are homeless. 
  • Put these items in little bags. 
  • Then get the bags to the homeless people.
Okay.  One at a time.  Collect small or sample sizes of some of these items:
  • water
  • snack size food - applesauce, fruit, crackers and peanut butter, granola bars, trail mix - basically anything that doesn't have to be refrigerated or require a can opener.
  • toothbrush and tooth paste
  • small first aid kit
  • soap
  • baby wipes
  • wash cloth
  • tissues
  • comb
  • nail clippers
  • lotion, sun block
  • chapstick
  • package of gum
  • small candies
  • pens, pencil and paper
  • fast food gift cards (make sure it would be possible to walk to the food place)
  • a pair of new or clean socks
  • for those with a dog, an extra water and a small bag of dog food
Assemble your items in a bag.  I have seen everything from paper bags with or without handles to gallon zip lock bags.  One lovely person I know hand makes fabric bags for the items she and her husband distribute.  Imagine being homeless and randomly receiving a hand made fabric bag filled with some of the items on that list.  Love in action!

Whatever bag you use, whatever contents you select, they still need to get to those in need.  Here are some ways to deliver these bags:
  • Take them to a local homeless shelter.
  • Take them to a place where meals are served to homeless people.
  • Take them to a church which has a outreach to homeless people.
  • Keep one in your vehicle and the next time you stop at a light and see "that" sign, you can pull over and give your gift to them.
Yes.  Be cautious and be safe.  Yes, not everyone out there is nice so do be careful.  But remember, hard working people loose their jobs and their homes.  Elderly people with no relatives sometimes have nowhere to go.  If you plan to deliver your bags in person, join a group and go in pairs.  You can find groups who reach out to homeless people in the same places (like those listed above) where you might want to take your bags. 

Some people decorate their bags with colorful pictures.  Some people include notes of encouragement or pictures drawn by their children.  Some people include change or a few dollar bills.  Some people slip in a Bible verse.  Some people give cash support the organizations who reach out the their local homeless people.

It's all love in action.  It's all putting hands and feet to helping someone.  And it's easier to do than you think.  Care to give it a try?  The smile you see will melt your heart!


'For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth,  just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.’
Matthew 25:35-40 NET

Friday, May 18, 2012

Funtry Friday Frenzy!

Some days do not go as planned...  or rather, some days get over planned?  and under staffed?  This part went fairly well...  Apparently this 'staff' can handle the painting part...

"Good Memories: - mixed media painting

Maybe if I followed my father's sage advice... "If you would put things away in the same place it would be easier to find them next time."  Father was very wise.  Ahem.  I think I have a 'short curcuit' in the 'put it away' part of my brain.

framing in progress...

However - mission accomplished.  I slipped the painting in the mat and frame to take a couple of quick pictures without all the reflections from the glass.

Then I went to look for the glass cleaner.  For the record, vinegar+water+rubbing alcohol will eventually remove streaks and clean glass.  Eventually.  Note to self:  put glass cleaner on shopping list.

Assembly went well... mostly...  Note to self:  put picture wire on shopping list.  And put it in a findable place this time *rolls eyes*


"Good Memories" all ready for the show... tomorrow!
Nothing worse than a retired picture framer whining about having to frame something!  This is the first thing I have framed in a couple of years, though - since I have been selling my artwork unframed online.  All my supplies and tools seem to have migrated somewhere...

Thumb tacks are frowned upon at art shows, however.  Especially since the rest of the Prescott Valley Art Guild members will have framed their artwork.  Probably with a lot less whining, too....  So, now I am mostly ready for tomorrow's adventure!

Christmas and her egg (the left one)
Christmas had her own adventure - she laid another egg!  Hers in the green one on the left... someone else left the egg on the right.  That's right.  I should have left that alone...

And, *sigh* it's fire time.

fire south of Prescott
Say a little prayer for all those firefighters out there!  There are both wild fires and controlled burns going on now.

Well, hope your Friday didn't have too many uphill climbs and that you are coasting into a wonderful weekend!

Happy Funtry Friday!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is such a sweet day.  I know that my dear daughter will give me an unhurried call to chat and catch up on all our news.  Never mind that we may have talked just a few days before - we will still find lots to share.  Sometimes I get to visit with all the little ones, too - and that's always fun!  I treasure the time I spend with my daughter - in person and on the phone - and I am so grateful for the wonderful relationship that we have!

Mom - in a High School play
But, even with all of that fun, Mother's Day is still a little bittersweet.  My mother passed away in 2002.  Yep, I still miss her.  However, I am grateful for all the years we did have together.  She and I had some wonderful and very fun times - lots of good memories stored up...  Still, there is a missing part of Mother's Day with her gone.

However, I am richly blessed.  I know far too many people who don't have the wonderful relationships that we have in our family.  I know several people who want children, but who have never had them.  I also know far too many people who have lost both parents and children at an early age.

last week
Special days like Mother's Day are hard for them.  Sometimes the rest of us forget.

this week
We get busy and we move away from them in embarrassed silence when we remember the faux pas of saying Happy Mother's Day.  Things that are out of sight, we push aside and desire to have them out of mind, as well.


Like this little street corner in Chino Valley.  Sometime this week the three small crosses that have been on that corner for more than 20 years were removed.  Those crosses were a reminder of the terrible accident that took the lives of three young girls and seriously injured two others. 

A long time for a memorial like that?  This is a small town.  Still.  And people still remember that accident and the lives that were forever changed.

Do you know someone who has faced a loss?  Take a risk.  Reach out.  Maybe they would just like to talk about that parent... or child...  and remember.  You might be really surprised at how blessed you will be!


Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:4 NET

Friday, May 11, 2012

Funtry Friday Spring Fun!

Why do I like Funtry Friday so much?  Because I get to share so much country fun with you all!  Like little babies ~ who are growing fast!

baby goat, mama goat, and naked sheep
Oh, and yes.... that is a totally naked sheep.  Last week she and her friend looked like this ~

woolly sheep
But now they have been sheared.  Lorie is probably planning to do something very fun with all that wool!

Wow - the desert is blooming ~ beautiful!

saguaro cactus
You have to look way up high to see the blooms on a saguaro cactus because they only bloom on the top part of the cactus and the top part of it's arms.  This one is pretty young, so it doesn't have any arms yet - and that is also why it was short enough for me to see the top of it from the road.

saguaro cactus blooms
The blooms are so pretty!  After it blooms, it will produce the sweetest fruit.  Yum!  Not easy to get, but well worth the effort.

There are lots of other blooms happening, too ~

Bougainvillea come in all kinds of colors and all sizes, too.  They are so pretty... ummm... and full of spiky thorns...  The actual flowers are teeny tiny little clusters of itty bitty flowers inside the brightly colored bracts (technical translation:  colorful leafy deals).  This one lives in Phoenix where it has lots of relatives.

Speaking of relatives...  Mama and Papa swallow are busily getting ready for more relatives in their family.

swallow nest
If you look closely, you can see that they have "feathered their nest" - with emu feathers!  The emus behind me have been very generous with their feathers this year.

Well, from the front door, to the neighbors, to a drive in the desert, to a visit in Phoenix (which isn't really rural country, but which does have some very fun grandchildren!), there are definitely lots of Funtry Friday things to see out there.

Happy Funtry Friday!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Searching for a little 'how to'?

Guinea Party
Trying something new is fun - but finding how to do it may take a little searching. Here are some great places for artistic inspiration to try a new technique, experiment with a new media, or just see what someone else is creating.

Looking for some fun projects for kids?  You will find something for all ages - including the young at heart - at Deep Space Sparkle.

There are lots of basic tutorials for all kinds of art projects in many different media on both and

Rita Squire has some great watercolor hints on her Tuesday's Tips.

I have been posting hints and tutorials for quite a while, too, so I created a 'page' on my blog where you can easily find links to my tutorial blog posts.  Travel over to my Tutorials Page to see some fun projects and helpful hints. 

What new project have you been thinking about starting?  I'm not sure what's next for me
- but I'm sure it won't be long before something new catches my eye!

Happy Creating,

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Have you ever watched discussions on two sides of an issue and found yourself agreeing to key points on both sides of that issue?


Have you ever had someone dear to you in total opposition to a viewpoint that is close to your heart?

Have you ever wanted someone to stop telling you that your ideas are completely wrong just long enough to listen to your deeply felt passion?

I will be totally surprised if anyone out there answers no to all of these.  In fact, I will be surprised if anyone can answer no to any of these.

When I share a tender subject that I am passionate about, I try to remember that it is my passion.  It may or may not be anyone else’s passion.  I still want to share my viewpoint in a clear way, but it is important to me to also share it in a balanced way that is sensitive to those who may disagree with me. 

Balance, versus a balancing act.  There are some people who fail to take a stand on any issue because they don’t want to offend anyone.  Do you think they really know what they believe?  Or do they care so much about what others think about them, that they will not take a stand for what they believe?

Well, I am not shy.  I will take a stand on the issues that I am passionate about.  Tenderly and sensitively sharing what I believe.

Take animals, for instance.  I do.  Many of mine have been rescued animals.  Cute pictures, huh?  These critters have enriched my life and given me great joy.  Seriously, I do watch my chickens pretty much every day, and I don’t miss the prime time TV that I never watch.

There is another side to my love for my critters.  I hate animal cruelty.  As a Christian, I feel a strong call to the stewardship of God’s creation.

Do I consider animals to be more important than people?  No.  Believe me, without hesitation I am going to rescue my grandchild before I reach out to save my dog.  I love them both, but in a different way…

Balance.  People are more important than animals; however, that does not mean that animals are not important or does it mean that they have no value.

So, yes, I am going to share the fun that these critters bring me and I am going to continue to love them and to take my stewardship responsibility towards them seriously.  And, when I can, I will help out the people who help protect animals in need.

How about you?  Going to share your passion today?  I hope so!


The Humane Society
Liberty Equine Rescue
Therapy Horses of Gentle Carousel

For every wild animal in the forest belongs to me,
as well as the cattle that graze on a thousand hills.
I keep track of every bird in the hills,
and the insects  of the field are mine.
Psalms 50:10-11 NET

Billie Jane

Friday, May 4, 2012

Funtry Friday Baby Pictures!

Nothing quite like baby pictures to make you smile!

Chloe and her new (big!) baby

As with most babies, first we play like crazy...

...and then we take a power nap!  (Pardon all the pooh in the picture - lol - baby goats just "drop and nap" and don't care about "photo ops"!)

Nap time *yawn*
Looks like there are going to be more babies around here, too.

Nesting Swallows
These little Swallows have taken up residence on my front window frame close to my front door.  Barn Swallows have nested in the barn next door for several years, but this is the first pair to nest at my house.  Guess they didn't like my barn...  

haha - It appears this is a "pooh-ti-fill" blog post this Funtry Friday since Chloe's baby naps in pooh and now these little birds have left a trail of gifts for me, too.

Well, nobody said that clean country living didn't get dirty sometimes! 

Happy Funtry Friday!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Just have to love crayons!

Look what I found!

DryErase Crayons

Yes.  I know... crayons - but when these DryErase Crayons are combined with acetate, they become a very fun artistic tool.  Trust me!

See... here's a little drawing.  I want to make a couple of changes in this drawing - but I really don't want to *erase*and*draw*erase*and*draw*erase*  Ahem.  Sooooo.....

Original Drawing

I place the clear sheet of acetate on top of my drawing and...

Drawing on the Acetate

...I make the changes on the sheet of acetate using the crayon.  Because these are DryErase Crayons, I can easily make changes in the drawing on the acetate - repeatedly.  The paper is much happier - and so am I!

Now all I have to do is transfer the drawing from the acetate to the paper using my handy dandy homemade light tracing box.

Homemade Light Tracing Box

....tracing, tracing, tracing...

Light Tracing Box in action!

Voila!  The original drawing now looks like this ~

Finished Drawing

Not only is this incredibly fast to do, but the clean up is soooo simple. 

Bye-bye drawing

Just a quick wipe with the fabric that came with the DryErase Crayons and *poof* all traces of the residue on the acetate are gone.

See, I told you this is a very fun and very useful little artistic tool!  Enjoy!

What new fun things have you found to "play with" recently?

Happy creating!


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