Sunday, July 31, 2011


And, there are more. They just keep appearing. I love them!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


"Are the dishes in the dishwasher clean or dirty"? This happens just way too often. The question is usually followed by an inspection and/or discussion. This is such a time waster! Now I know you can buy a cute little something to stick on the dishwasher to answer the question. But, you can also make something without even going near a store. Making something without spending money makes me so very happy! I took a magnetic sheet advertisement off the side of the refrigerator and covered the right side with a layer of white Gesso. After it had dried, I divided the space roughly in half (precision is not my thing as you all know by now) and painted it in two contrasting colors. Then I drew some free form letters with a Sharpie and painted them white. Tada!!! If you have a similar situation in your kitchen, take one of those useless magnet sheets and make one of these. Fun, useful and free!

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I have been making small loans to women in third world countries through the KIVA Loan Program. Julienne is my sixth business partner! It is a real "feels good" moment to be able to help other women. If you are inclined to do this, I encourage you to go to and read about the program.Quoted from the KIVA program page for Julienne: "Julienne is a 54-year-old Rwandan entrepreneur. She has three children between the ages of 17 and 33 years old. She is a widow. Since 1997, she has been selling traditional cloth called bitenge. Her business is going well and it has enabled her to look after her children. She will use this loan to buy more bitenge, from which she will generate more profits. With the profits she will pay school fees for her children and continue to provide for her family. "

Friday, July 22, 2011


On a recent trip to the thrift store I bought this small nylon wallet for 49 cents. It is exactly what I have been looking for but, of course, it is only black! And we all know that doesn't work for me.
The inside had a plastic piece on the left side (below) that was to hold your checks and register in place. I removed that immediately as it was a bit shabby looking.
Then I put down a layer of white Gesso on the outside, after marking it off with blue painter's tape to get a sharp line.
Here you can see I painted a basic abstract design , using acrylic paints. By the way, if you are a painter, take note of the clam shell in this photo. It makes the prefect thing to put a small amount of paint in. I have many shells used for just this purpose.
For the inside of the wallet, I cut a piece of painted fabric the right size and used fabric glue to glue three of the sides. This will hold the checks and register in place.
Then, the large area on the back of the wallet is painted, also with acrylic.
There ya go! It was easy, it was fun, and it looks like a really cool 49 cent wallet, right? Now, go find one at your local thrift store and make a one-of-a-kind wallet for yourself, or as a gift! In fact, you could start now looking for wallets or small purses to decorate/paint and your holiday shopping will be done for all the ladies on your list! Go do it right now! (and then show me what you did).

Thursday, July 21, 2011


While waiting for paint to dry, I wandered into the kitchen and made this really cool looking loaf of Sunflower Bread. Because, since it is only 94 degrees outside today I really should crank up the oven, right? Sheesh...what WAS I thinking! It was a reflective time for me though, so apparently the right thing to do. I was thinking about my good friend Vanessa who is "all things sunflower" and I was pondering what kind of day my friend Geree might be having as she undergoes a serious surgery. My mind will stay with her the rest of the day. Here is the recipe for "sunflower Bread". If it ever cools down where you are, I recommend it highly. SUNFLOWER BREAD 1 1/4 cups water 2 tablespoons of olive oil 2 tablespoons of molasses 2 1/2 cups white flour 3/4 cups wheat flour 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed 2 tablespoons of powdered milk 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast Mix and then kneed for 5 minutes, adding flour as needed. Let rise for 1 hour. Punch down and form into a ball , dust with flour and cut 3 slits across the top. Let rise again for another hour. Then bake in 390 degree oven for 25 minutes. It smells wonderful! Now, go do something fun!

Monday, July 18, 2011


Last night while we were all asleep, a milestone was reached here at Straw Mountain Studio blog. If you look over there --------------------------> on the right side of the page you will see a small map of the world. If you click on that map it will take you to a larger version of the same map and you can see a list of states and countries where my blog readers live. Last night the counter rolled over 10, 000 visits since April 24, 2009! What a fabulous journey this has been for me. I am so grateful to all my readers and will try not to disappoint you. If I were more focused, I would post every day but that really won't happen, sorry! I do promise to keep writing and posting photographs of all the things that are important in my life and I am happy to share it with all of you! Thank you for visiting!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


We have a greenhouse because our land is so very rocky that a garden would be impossible. Instead of stressing about the rocks, we decided to make rock piles; sculptures from the land that make me smile when I look at them!
There will be more of these!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Mixed Media collage of fabric, paper and acrylic paint. 28 " X 30" on stretchers.
I am thinking about perhaps working on a series of pieces featuring chickens. Ideas are going around in my head!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Yesterday was a wonderful one! We started at the new Hobby Lobby in Erie and I got some stretcher bars for a large piece I am working on as well as the paint and supplies I will need for my workshop in November. (No, I try to NEVER leave things to the last minute). Then we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant followed by several hours immersed in books and magazines ( and coffee) at Barnes and Noble. I got the latest issue of "Quilting Arts", a book by Spike Gillespie called "Quilting Art" and a book by Paul Hollywood titled "100 Great Breads". Nothing feels better than several hours surrounded by books! I created four sketches and discovered they are really fun! This first one I made as a cover for my journal which has all kinds of memos and notes and important information, as well as sketches and ideas for future projects. It was so much fun, I made three more. So this is the fun you can have with some typing paper, a black marker, some colored pencils and some oil pastels. I have an idea for this subject matter now that involves fabric (naturally).

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Today was the artist's opening reception of the Lily Festival Juried Art show at Stonewall Gallery at Campbell Pottery in Cambridge Springs PA. This year I submitted an art piece called "A Chinese Proverb"and it was accepted! We arrived about 15 minutes into the reception and already it was difficult to find a parking place. Stonewall Gallery really knows how to put on a reception! They have the event catered by a local bakery and we are treated to bite sized cheese cakes, miniature quiches, assorted cookies, fresh fruit salad, punch and coffee.
I am standing next to my piece which was hung on matte black wire suspended from the ceiling about 8 inches from the wall so it looked like it was floating.
The lighting in this gallery space is just perfect for showing off artwork. There were 58 pieces on display and included, oil, pastel, clay, mixed media, fiber, watercolor, welded steel, stained glass, acrylic, graphite, photography, paper assemblage, pen and ink and intaglio. The art works were priced from $50 to $2000 and several of them already had "sold" indicators on them. A beautiful collection of lily themed art!
Here you can see my piece straight ahead on the far wall.
The grounds around Campbell Pottery and the Stonewall Gallery are beautiful and have thousands of lilies in bloom.
Roy spoke with the gallery manager and asked her what she does with the wonderful posters advertising the show. She let him know she gives them away to the first people who ask for them. One of them now has my name on it. I do believe it will look quite nice on the wall in my studio!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


We discovered this tiny little nest partially hidden in the grass about 2 feet from the parking pad at the front of our house. At first, there was just the nest. A couple of days later there was one egg, about the size of a jelly bean. Then, today a second egg appeared. When the sun is shining directly on the eggs, they seem to be glowing from inside, with a very slight pinkish hue. They really are beautiful. I think it is a sparrow nest and that if she lays a third egg, she will then be sitting on them to begin the incubation period. What fun this is to watch! Postscript: This morning I checked to see if a third egg had been deposited. The nest has been destroyed and the eggs are gone. I understand the cycle of life, but it made me sad.....