Found Treasures…….


Some stories are just so special they have to be savored. There was a lady that knew me from the time I was a little girl.  She was an artist. She always encouraged me, affirmed me, and was a bright spot to be around.  She was a good friend of my Mom’s.

Fast forward many years and we ended up going to the same church here in our town.  She was good friends with a group of ladies that we all referred to as “The Golden Girls”. They were a hoot.

Years after purchasing Oak Cottage we realized that she lived right here in our neighborhood. Had no idea. We served on prayer teams together for several years.

She died several yeas ago….and is so very missed.

A few months ago one of Handsome’s co-workers purchased a home here in our neighborhood…and when he was describing it I realized that it was Betsy’s home! In fact, they had purchased it from her husband as he was moving into a retirement home.

I told them all about her, how she was an artist and what a neat person she was. And they said…..”Hey, that makes sense with all the stuff we found in the attic that was left behind.”

My ears perked…..”What did you find in the attic?” They said they would bring it to me if I wanted it. I did.

Two of the most special things were this painting/drawing that Betsy had done…..and then her charcoal sticks. They are truly vintage…….95 cents! Wow! Probably purchased in the 60’s. These had been her charcoal sticks for a very long time.

found treasures

I’ve been pondering this lovely work of hers…it’s very different than many of her gorgeous paintings that hang in so many people’s homes…it shows a bit of different side.

found treasures

I would like to do something neat with this special drawing/watercolor. I’m not sure what…..but I hope I can do it justice.

found treasures

And her charcoal sticks….I’ve been using them.  I feel honored that they have been entrusted to me.

found treasures

I know what Betsy would say… her thick, Southern drawl…”Aw, honey, I know you’ll do something wooooooonnnnnddderful with them.” She was an encourager.

found treasures

I’m certainly going to try…..


Self-Portrait Canvases…….

Before we home schooled our children they went to a private classical school here in our area.  As the room mom for their classes one of my responsibilities was to create something for our class to auction off at the annual fundraising auction.

I did that for many years…..but this one was my favorite!

I painted a canvas for each class and used mixed media materials and mediums to add dimension.  The middle of each canvas were blocks with heads and necks that I drew….one for each child.  I had the children sign up for times and come over to draw a self-portrait of themselves on one of the heads.  {My middle daughter’s is the one with the BIG eyelashes.  Cracks. me. up.}  They were in kindergarten when they did this! I named this one “Unrepeatable Miracles”.

self portrait canvases

The ones you see here hang on our upstairs hallway wall…..they were the ‘practice’ canvases for the kids….the larger ones were auctioned off at the auction.  One class canvas was auctioned at $6,000 and the other one for $8,000. Whoa! I think the parents liked them a lot! There was a lot of bidding going on….they both started at $100! {My son’s class was in 3rd grade when they did theirs….my son is the one with the big blue eyes. :)} I named this one “The Chosen”.


I feel blessed to have the ‘practice’ ones hanging on our walls.  The middle canvas is one that I did for our family…..a house with the head of each one of us inside.

These were such fun projects and hold so many great memories. I love to see the individual style of each child.  None of them were intimidated or hesitant about picking up the brushes and drawing their self-portrait.  And each of them were pleased when they were finished. We have so much to learn from children. I love to watch them do art. It’s the best kind. I think they truly see themselves as God sees them.

How would you go about doing a self portrait if asked?? Would you like it, or run like crazy?


Sharing with:  Tip JunkieBetween Naps on the PorchThrifty Decor ChickFunky Junk InteriorsDIY ShowoffHome Stories A to Z a.k.a. DesignSerenity NowSavvy Southern StyleMy Romantic HomeJennifer Rizzo

Art Journaling…..

Journaling is such an enjoyment to me.  I’ve done it since I was quite young.  We keep up with a few different journals around here…..

there’s mine and Handsome’s Couple Journal.  It is in this book that whomever has it writes a letter or note to the other and leaves it in a place that it will be found.  Then it is the other person’s turn to respond and write an entry back…and leave it to be found.  We’ve poured our hearts out in this journal, argued in this journal, left love notes in this journal, shared aches and pains in this journal……it is worn and has coffee stains on the cover. It’s very special to me.

art journaling

We have our family’s Christmas Journal.  I shared about it here.  Each Christmas everyone gets a turn at writing an entry….about what this Christmas meant to them, what stood out, etc.  Whatever they want to share about the season.

art journaling

Then there’s my favorite……my Art Journal.  There are many ways to keep an art journal.  It can be like a scrapbook and have lovely things taped and glued inside, mixed media, etc. Or, like the one I keep, it can just be written entries alongside drawings.  Sometimes it is just drawings.  Here are some pages from my art journal several years ago……

art journaling

It’s a great place to practice art skills…sometimes I work on lines, ellipses, circles, shading while I make entries…such fun therapy. 🙂

art journaling

I usually take it wherever I go….never know when the urge will strike.

art journaling

art journaling

art journaling

art journaling

art journaling

I like to use my special drawing pens…and sometimes in different colors…but black is my favorite for my journal drawings.

art journaling

art journaling

art journaling

art journaling

art journaling

Have you ever kept an art journal before? Do you enjoy journaling in another way??


Sharing with:  Tip JunkieBetween Naps on the PorchThrifty Decor ChickFunky Junk InteriorsDIY ShowoffHome Stories A to Z a.k.a. DesignSerenity NowSavvy Southern StyleMy Romantic HomeJennifer Rizzo

Soda Can Art

I think these are so fun to make…I love taking things and repurposing them into something completely different from their original purpose.

These fun garden art pieces are made from aluminum soda cans.

art from aluminum cans

soda can artIt’s a super easy project…great fun for even young children. {An adult probably needs to do the cutting and then they can decorate.}

aluminum can art

Here’s what you need:

aluminum soda cans…any kind

acrylic paints and/or spray paints

3-D or puff paint if you want a 3-D look

sharp scissors

Here’s how ya do it:

1. Thoroughly wash/rinse out cans

2. Using sharp scissors cut the can in half…poke a hole halfway down and then cut around the can.

3. Decide the design you would like…..pointed or squared. Then begin from the cut edge cut down until you ALMOST reach the bottom…either in zig-zag or in long rectangles.

4.  Bend the cut pieces out like rays of a sunshine.  If there are any pieces you don’t like…cut them out.

5.  Paint and decorate them any way you wish!

Aluminum is super easy to bend, so you can crinkle it if you’d like; or bend it any way you wish.  You can really have fun with this project.

Teens would love to do a bunch of these to decorate their room or locker…just be careful, the cut edges are sharp.

You can hang them with nails, or put magnets on the back.


Anyone else gearing up for school?  I started filling in planners/plans for our three today. {We homeschool…so I’m making sure we have everything covered and ordered and ready to go.} So hard to believe that we will be starting in just a couple of weeks!

It will be an exciting year…our oldest will be going to China for a couple of weeks….and I will also be taking him to NYC for a Mom/Son senior trip. Lots of other exciting things coming up this school year, too.  I don’t want to rush it away….but I can’t wait for some things!

I’m running around trying to squeeze in those last few projects before we start…my ideas far exceed my allotted time! Eeeeeeeeeek!

Do you have a list..written or imaginary…that you like to check off before the school year starts?


Sharing with: Tip JunkieBetween Naps on the PorchThrifty Decor ChickFunky Junk InteriorsDIY ShowoffHome Stories A to Z a.k.a. DesignSerenity NowSavvy Southern StyleMy Romantic HomeUncommon DesignsJennifer Rizzo

Our Favorite Week of the Summer……

Good Monday morning!

This is one of our favorite weeks of the summer……all three of our children are classical violinists and spend one week each summer at a violin conservatory.  We start at 8:00 in the morning…they spend the day taking master classes from some of the best violinists  across the globe, and most evenings performing in concerts. Handsome and I attend all of their classes with them.

There are two evenings that Handsome and I get to be a part of that the kids get a break from performing….Teen Party night, and the annual Family Dance Night.

[Below: One of our daughters in master class with Gail Acosta.  You know the soundtracks to the movies you go see?  Well, then you have heard Ms. Acosta perform…she is one of the leading violinists and violists for the movie industry in L.A.]

We are blessed to have this great opportunity offered right here in our town…..and it is our pleasure each year to open our home to all of the teens that are participating for a fun party here at our home. A time to take a small break from their hard work, practice, and performances. These teens come from all over the US; as well as from other countries.  They are a wonderful group of teens…such a high caliber of young people….I cannot tell you what a pleasure it is to be around them and spend time with them. Tonight is the Teen Party night….and we are looking forward to it! 🙂 From the time our children were small and started to participate in this one week summer intensive they have said that it is the one week each year that they feel like they are in their element with others they can relate to…….. They are exhausted, but love every minute.  It is such a blessing to see your children flourish and get to spend time in an environment that nourishes their soul and spirit.

{This will be our #1 Son’s 11th year studying here…….}

The other night that Handsome and I get to be a big part of is the annual Family Dance Night.  Mid-week all of the families and their children of all ages gather together to learn some new dances and have fun dancing together.  It’s a hoot.  Handsome and I lead/teach that night. This is the only other evening that the participants get a bit of a break.  After the dance the teens go right back into rehearsal for an hour or so.

In rehearsal several years ago…..[this piece was called ‘Moonlight Waltz’ and was choreographed just for Handsome & I by one of the leads of NYC Ballet]

Teaching the annual Family Dance Night last year……

We will drink in this great week of 100% intense art and creativity…because it will have to get us through another year.  There is nothing even close to this in our area at any other time of the year.

Is there something that you and your family participate in that really nourishes your heart and soul?  I’d love to hear about it…..another important piece to your story!

Have a great day~