dreaming of home
I have had a reoccurring dream for years. In this dream I am in my home, whatever home I am living in at the time, and all of a sudden I notice a new door that I had never seen before. I go through the door and I find an amazing and wonderful space. A space so huge and incredible. A perfect studio with sinks and natural light and tons of square footage. Always in this dream I think "how did I forget this was here? How could I forget that such a perfect space was here!?"

I usually wake up at this point, all exited fresh from my dream thinking of this new found space that was there all along, and then I wake up fully and am disappointed to realize it was just a dream. I can't even remember how many times I have had this same dream.

I am sure it means something very deep symbolically or maybe it just means I really want a nice big studio!

The other night I had a house dream but this time with a twist. This time we were moving to a new house but the new house turned out to be much smaller than I had thought when buying it. And upon arriving at the new house I realize there is no place for me to have my special studio -- all the space is already taken and that there are belongings that are not mine there, a grand piano, antique furniture. I remember saying in the dream "how did this happen!!"

This time I was relieved to wake up and find my house just the size it is!

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illustration friday: remember
Here's my submission for Illustration Friday's theme of "remember"

(click image to enlarge)
This is an image I created for my new card line with The Greeting Place. I thought it would fit the IF theme because these ladies look like they are having a fun time remembering bad dates and good gossip!


fundraiser auction
My rep, Jennifer Vaughn, is holding a fund raiser auction for the wife of one of her artists.

If you are in the San Francisco area tomorrow and can check it out, please go and visit. Here is the full announcement:

Varnish Fine Art Presents

With work donated by over 40 artists including:

Hawk Alfredson, Kent Alexander, Nikolai Atanassov, Gary Baseman, JennyBird, Calef Brown, Claudine Hellmuth, Tim Butler, Chris Buzelli, Stephanie Dalton, Guy Dill, Bob Dob, Joseph Daniel Fiedler, Rebecca Fox, Charles Glaubitz, Jack Howe, Craig LaRotonda, Omar Lee, Rafael Lopez, Julia Marchand, Kim Maria, MariNaomi, Miller-Havens, Joel Nakamura, James Nacarrato, Kevin Peterson, Ferris Plock, Silvia Poloto, Martha Rich, Isabel Samaras, Anastasia Schipani, John Sheridan, Chris Sickels, Winston Smith, Hannah Stouffer, Katherine Streeter & others.

Saturday, April 28, 2007, Preview at 6:00 - Bidding 7 to 9 pm

Varnish Fine Art
77 Natoma St. San Francisco, CA 94105

Recently Kim Maria, of Revelation Studios (, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, and an incredible group of artists have come together for a one night event to help her offset medical costs.

Varnish Fine Art has donated use of the space for the evening and over forty artists have donated work to be auctioned, via silent auction, with 100% of the proceeds being donated directly to Kim.

Please join us for drinks and a fantastic chance to bid on fine art below retail prices - all for a good cause. If you cannot attend the event, most of the works will be posted online at and, and proxy bids will be accepted up until the day of the event.

For more information about the benefit event, contact Jennifer Vaughn at

For more information about Multiple Myeloma, go to:
Multiple Myeloma is an incurable cancer of the plasma cells that attacks bone marrow. Current treatments include bone marrow and stem cell transplants. This form of cancer is very painful and the complications of the disease are endless. There are new hopeful treatments on the horizon, yet very costly.

Kim and her husband, artist Craig LaRotonda, have moved back to their hometown of Buffalo, NY where Kim is receiving treatment at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Please feel feel to forward this announcement to others.
italy photos!
I put up all the Italy photos that we have in my Flickr account. I have more coming from the workshop itself later. These ones are from our day trips and also our trips to Florence and Rome before and after my workshop.

I thought I'd concentrate this post on the Niki de Saint Phalle Tarot Gardens because that was my absolute favorite place we visited. But you can see the rest of our Italy photos here too!

The Niki gardens are set in rural Italy just north of Rome. As you approach you pass by sheep and farm animals out in pastures grazing. I loved that as you get closer and closer you can see the juxtaposition of Niki's modern art and the rural country side.

When we first got to the gardens I knew they would be wonderful, but I had no idea just how incredible they would be! Just about every sculpture is interactive in some way. They have stairs and doors and nooks you can sit and hide in. There is writing on many of the scultpures, one was a love letter to her husband that made me cry!


One of the structures (above) Niki created as her own house to live in while she finished the garden. The inside of the house is covered entirely in mirrored mosaics. EVERY SINGLE surface, including the fridge and the oven, the dishwasher and the fireplace and the toilet too!! It is like nothing I have ever seen before, it sounds horrible and gaudy, but it was beautiful.

Another structure/sculpture. This one had two levels so you could run up and down stairs and see amazing views of the countryside.

This is the inside courtyard of the structure that was pictured above.

This sculpture is the first one you see as you walk up the path to the Tarot Garden. It's a waterfall and has kinetic sculptures in the base of the waterfall. it also has stairs going up the side, but we weren't allowed to climb on those.

Paul and I in the garden

Another sculpture..

And another fountain.... this one was unfinished. You can see the walls around the fountain were not completed.

The surfaces and mosaic tiles were created specifically for each sculpture. The tiles were sculpted right on the armature then taken off and fired and then put back on. I can't even begin to describe the detail. I am still in awe at the scale of the project. Sadly Niki died in 2002 before she was able to finish the garden. So many of the sculptures remain unfinished.

The visit to the gardens was such a magical experience. I bought a few of Niki's books about her life with husband and I can't wait to buy more books about her. She was a kooky lady with an amazing vision and it's a treat to read her writing and see her artwork!

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i'm home, but not for long!
We got home last night about 9pm Orlando time, which was 3am in Rome. We had been up for 21 hours! We are so exhausted. I still feel kind of shaky and sicky feeling but I hope that's just jet lag because Tuesday I felt fine. Please, please let it just be jet lag!

It was wonderful to be reunited with the pets, Toby was excited and did a little bark when he saw us and jumped up and down. He looks amazing. My parents did a super duper job of caring for him -- thank you mom and dad! The cats looked great too and were very relaxed when we got home, they didn't even come to the door right away when we walked in! That's why we love our cat sitter, the cats barely even notice we are gone!

Today I am sorting through piles of email and snail mail and bills, running errands, getting groceries and doing laundry. I have 5 days until I leave to teach in VA at Art and Soul for a week so lots to get done.

I'm going to sort out our photos too and will post those tonight!!

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last day!
Today is the last day of our trip and I am finally healthy. No more sicky for me. At least I don't have to fly home sick!

We have had a busy couple of days. On Sunday we did an ancient Rome tour with Context Rome, our wonderful guide was an archeologist and she had acutally dug in some of the ruins that were on our tour! We walked and walked and walked all over the city. My legs are so tired from all the walking.

Yesterday we did another tour with Context Rome following Caravaggio's works around the city. Another amazing guide and we learned so much!

We also got to see Tore Argentina, which is an ancient ruin site (also the site where Julius Ceaser was killed) and now houses hundreds of stray cats that are fed and cared for all from private donations. I thought I might get all upset at seeing the kitties, but the ones we saw looked fat and happy lounging and washing themselves in the sun amongst the ruins.

On our outing today we walked by Piazza de Republica and noticed they are setting up for the premier of Spiderman 3. Big scaffolds with lights and a red carpet rolled out. I wish we could have spied Tobey Maguire, but I bet he's hiding away in his fancy hotel until tonight!

Just got done with a big email clean up, I had hundreds of emails even just from a couple days of not checking. yipes! I was crestfallen to see I missed out on a job from Penguin books. I could have done illustration work for them for a children's book (my dream!!) but since I was gone I missed out on it -- it would have been due while I was still here - darn it! Illustration jobs don't usually have very long deadlines (at least in my experience) so if you are out of town or away you can miss out on jobs, I hate that part.

Now we're off here in a little bit to leave Rome tonight to stay at the airport hotel. We have an early morning flight and I spazz out about getting to the airport so I want to be there so I don't worry.

I can't wait to get home and see the cats and Toby!!! yay!!

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in rome!
Last night we said good-bye to everyone. I was so sad that the workshop was over, we all bonded so much, it was like the end of summer camp leaving everyone. We don't kow when I'll back to teach a workshop in Cortona, so it was extra sad good-bye to that cute little town!

Now we're in Rome to vacation for a couple days, then home on Wednesday! It's hard to find Internet here because our hotel doesn't have a computer we can use. So I'll try to do at least one more post before we leave.

We're looking forward to taking it easy here in Rome, no more rushing around. I have to say even though I loved teaching the workshop in Cortona and it was an amazing experience, I am totally exhausted. I slept for 4 hours as soon as we got to our hotel here. Only just got up for a quick peek at the Pantheon and then now we're off to dinner and an early night.

The food here has been amazing, epsiecally since I am more of a pastatarian than a vegetarian! I never thought I'd say this but I am getting tired of pasta. I am craving Thai food like you would not believe. I think when we get home it's going to be Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese every night for a few days!

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Yesterday we had an amazing day trip. On our way down to the Niki de Saint Phalle gardens, we stopped for lunch at a little town called Porto Ercole, it's on the Mediterranean, beautiful and amazing. We walked the beach a little bit and picked up buckets and buckets of sea glass, everywhere we looked there was another piece! I have never seen so much sea glass.

Then we headed south to the Niki gardens which absolutely blew me away. I knew they would be cool and exciting, but I never expected to see such an incredible sight! Everyone was speechless. I can not wait to post the photos, and I know the photos won't even do it justice. We were all so inspired and on the bus ride back to the hotel we all kept exclaiming "WOW" every few minutes. There are no words to describe it but wow!

Tomorrow we'll go to Siena which will be so much fun. I love the duomo there and I can't wait to see it again.

I see my mom posted a Toby update in the comments of my last post. Thanks mom! And also a big thanks to mom and dad for looking after our little Toby and our wonderful pet sitter for keep the cats safe and sound!

See you in a couple days!

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workshop day two
It's been a great two days so far here in Cortona. Yesterday I did the color part of the workshop, where we mixed colors and then we did a tag book round robin, lots of fun! Today we got started on our projects for the week, working in 3-d using cigar boxes.

Tomorrow we'll go to Niki de Saint Phalle gardens (photo at right), and I can hardly wait. I have been wanting to see the gardens forever. I am so excited!!! yay!!! After we get back I have a little project planned where we'll create our own versions of sculptures inspired by the gardens.

I'm still sick, it's turned into a nasty sinus infection but luckily I brought a stash of antibiotics with me so that has been helping.

We haven't yet found an internet cafe that will let us download photos -- we even did a couple small video clips! So I'll have to post those when I get home.

It's hard for me to get time to post because it's really busy with the classes all day, so I'll post in a couple days!

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florence day three
Today we did a lot of sight seeing in the morning with an amazing private tour group called Context Florence. There are usually only 6 in the small tour groups but we were super lucky and no one else signed up so it was just Paul and I. OUr tour focused on the Medici family and the artists they patronized ... as an artist it must have been nice to have such a wealthy family funding all your art making! Our tour guide was amazing and it was so much fun!

I woke up even sicker than yesterday, the cold or whatever is has now moved and I am having lovely coughing fits. Very attractive. I got some throat losenges from the pharmacy and they taste just like altoids, which I hate the taste of, but Paul loves altoids so if he gets sick he will like these throat losenges.

I had a very restful afternoon and slept in the hotel for about 4 hours while Paul went out and did more sight seeing.

Tomorrow I want to visit this contemporary fine craft fair in the morning that is in town for a week. Should be fun.

Then we are off to Cortona around 2pm and the workshop starts with a wine and choclate tasting in the evening before a dinner! yummy!

See you from Cortona!

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florence day two
Last night I had a really horrible sore throat. I thought if I got a good night sleep it would go away, but then I woke up with it even worse thise morning. I am so annoyed!! I am still hopeful I will be able to shake it off and have been taking lots of Airborne. Grrr! I do not want to be sick on this trip! Teaching a workshop for 7 days is challenging enough but doing it sick would be a nightmare!

Paul and I went to the Pitti Palace this morning and walked around and enjoyed the sights. I am feeling really low energy because my throat is killing me, so I went and had a long rest in the hotel while Paul finished sight seeing this afternoon. I keep thinking of that Kate & Alley episode where Kate (or was it Alley?) was sick on their dream trip to Europe and then Alley runs around having fun while she lays sick in the hotel room.

I did manage to get up around 5pm and we walked around a bit more and now we're off to dinner. Here's hoping I wake up tomorrow feeling all better!

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we're here!
We made it to Florence! Two planes, two trains and we're here! Totally exhausted! More later!

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ready or not.... here we go!
We'll head out the door and on our way to Italy in exactly 9 hours! Wow! I can not believe it's here! it seems like just yesterday that I was planning this workshop and now it's time to leave.

I *think* I am ready! I spent so much time fussing with all my class supplies that I am not exactly sure what I packed as far as clothes. But I am sure it will be fine.

I have promised Paul I will wear my new Skechers and not my usual heeled shoes so I won't end up hobbling all around Tuscany. Let me state for the record that I hate wearing shoes with less than a 2 inch heel. But I will do it and not feel short, yes I will.

So here we go!

Toby has been dropped off at my Mom and Dad's, our amazing pet sitter is coming for the cats.The house has been scrubbed and cleaned. My email box is empty, all my work is up to date, I even did super neurotic things, like unplug the clothes dryer. And as soon as I finish this post I'm going to unplug the computer! If I could unplug the whole house I would but then my DVR wouldn't be able to tape Sopranos for me!

Ready or not Italy here I come!


We'll post from the road when we can find an internet cafe! Paul might post for me sometimes because once I start teaching it gets really crazy busy. I remember last time I taught in Italy I barely had a spare minute!

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easter memories
Not feeling overly creative today so I'm re-posting my last years Easter post. Happy Easter!!

When this photo was taken of me as a little girl, I was living in NY. My parents gave me a new Barbie as an Easter present and in the original of this photo I am holding it up for the camera. I remember the neighbor girl coming over and asking if she could play with my Barbie to which I replied "not yet, it's too new to share." hee hee! what a typical "only child" answer! I still don't like to share my new toys when I first get them. I guess some things never change.

Another Easter memory I have is of the ubiquitous Easter egg hunt. I was always the kid who could never find the eggs as fast as the other kids. I remember seeing an egg on a lawn chair and running towards it only to have a little boy swoop in and snatch it before I could reach it.

And then there was the dramatic plastic egg incident. When I was three years old I thought it would be a good idea to take 1/2 of a plastic Easter egg and smash the sharp rim against my forehead. This resulted in lots of blood and drama and a trip to go and get stitches. I still have the scar today and every time I see a plastic Easter egg I have a little giggle.


packing gets messy
Only two more days to go until we leave Tuesday morning!! My studio looks like a bomb went off as I tackle packing up to teach in Italy and at Art & Soul.

Here's what it looks like! Note Toby in the background napping through the chaos!


illustration friday: green
Here's my submission for Illustration Friday's theme of "green"

(click image to enlarge)
I wanted to create a new work for IF but no time! This is another piece that I created for my new card line with The Greeting Place. But I thought it works for the theme ... not only are they standing in front of green hills. But the one on the left looks like she could be a little green with envy.


scrap in style tv
I just got the word that I made the Scrap in Style TV team.

I'll be on the team for the first 6 months, then I'm not sure if they switch out to a new team or how that works. But I'll be on there to start.

What's Scrap in Style TV?

It's a web based TV show and networking community for crafters and scrapbookers, that is super stylish of course!

It looks like it will be a lot of fun! Since I am not a scrapbooker they told me I could do my regular art and show some of my fun techniques to their scrapping audience. I am excited!! It all launches May 15th. So we'll find out what it's all about then. Yay!


bath time!
Toby got his "before travel" bath. This way he can be all squeeky clean when he goes to stay at Grandma's and Grandpa's. He was not happy about it at all. On the other hand, our little kitty Stan, jumped right in the bath as it was filling up with water and watched the water creep closer and closer until he jumped out before it reached him! Silly boy!

I managed to get a few more things off my list today, finished up a custom artwork order, it's ready to send out! Got another one to the draft/approval stage. Got my FL sales taxes done, and got my 1st QT taxes done too! I had frantic conversations back and forth with my rep about a new license. We were under the impression they needed the artwork before I left for Italy. Turns out we have some more time. Yay!

Then I even did crazy things like clean out the fridge, the pantry and washed/cleaned out all the litter boxes to make sure everything is tidy for our wonderful cat sitter when we leave. I plan a huge clean on Sunday!! Whew! I am tired now after all that. I think at this rate I'll feel really good when I get on the plane because I won't be able to fuss with anything or do any more work. That will be good because then I won't be about to think about how sad I am about leaving our pets behind! But they will all be in good hands, still I hate leaving my babies.

OK nighty night!

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ohhh! neat-o!
As if I don't have enough to do, I start playing with my blog. I found this cool code that makes a window pop up when you mouse over a link. Neat-O! Here's a link to the code if you want to try it on your blog too. OK! back to work for me!

EDITED 6:15pm : never mind. I took it out, it makes the page load too slow :( oh well it was super neat!


working down the to-do list
I am slowly but surely making my way down my massive to-do list. I had a session with my coach today, and I had to get realistic about exactly what can get done before I leave. The book proposal is not going to get finished. I wanted to get it done, but I also want it to be really good, so it will have to wait until I get back. I feel relief letting that go for a little bit, but I also wish I could power through and finish it. But there are only so many hours in the day!

On my short list, I still need to do my 1st Quarter taxes, FL sales taxes, pack up artwork to ship off for a Cloth Paper Scissors article, buy stuff/supplies (camera!) for Italy, prepare artworks for a new license - they need it before I leave, clean the house, wash Toby, do laundry, get ready for family coming in down for Easter (yipes!), staple class handouts for Art and Soul.

I also need to pack up a box to send to VA for Art and Soul. I teach there just 4 days (4 days!!) after I get back from Italy.I am not even counting those 4 days as days I will really get much done. I have one custom artwork order I will finish up in those 4 days and then after that those days will be dedicated to laundry and errands and getting ready to teach again!

Speaking of Art and Soul. My Magazine Alterology class at Art and Soul Portland is almost sold out! Wow! Only the first day of registration! There's still spaces left in Waxing Poetic (beeswax collage) and the Frayed Edge (fabric + paper collage). I will not be teaching in Portland in 2008 so sign up soon to hold your spot.

nighty night!

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free issue of go make art
I am a contributor to an online magazine from Australia called Go Make Art. They are offering a free issue to my blog readers. Yay! Click here to download the free issue!
art and soul in portland
Today's the day registration opens for Art and Soul in Portland OR. oh boy! I'll be teaching three classes there, Waxing Poetic (beeswax collage), The Frayed Edge, and Magazine Alterology. Take a look at the Art and Soul class line up (my classes are the Saturday-Monday so scroll down to see my workshops). Sign up today to make sure you get a spot in the classes you want!


Too tired to post properly tonight ...more tomorrow! Thanks for all the camera suggestions!! Nighty night!!


i'm on diy on wednesday!
Thanks to Jen for letting me know that an episode of DIY's Craft Lab that I taped with her in 2005 will finally be airing! whoo hoo! I almost missed it!

This is the episode where I make a cigar box assemblage like I did in my second book. I show cutting plexi glass, and creating a crackle effect using Elmer's Glue!

It will air this Wednesday April 4th at 12noonEST.

Set your Tivos!


time for a new camera!
Paul and I want to get a new camera for our Italy workshop trip. Our current camera is a Kodak Easyshare and it's OK but a bit bulky. I want one of those really skinny and tiny ones. Any suggestions? I am hoping if I have a small enough camera I will remember to take photos. I am a bad photo taker. I always forget! Then we spend the last day of the trip running around taking photos so we end up in all our pictures wearing the same outfits!

I am in a positive whirlwind here trying to wrap up everything before we go. I leave in 8 days!! I can't believe it is here! I am having a mental freak out. Here's a list of everything I need to do or want to do before I leave: write a new book proposal, finish up 3 custom artwork orders, pack everything for Italy, pack supplies to teach in VA, write an article for Cloth, Paper Scissors, ship artwork for Cloth, Paper Scissors article, order more books + dvds to sell in VA, finish up a small project I will be teaching at the Italy workshop, clean the house, get things ready for the pet sitter, take Toby to the vet, get last minute supplies for VA workshops, staple booklets and hand outs for VA classes, do my 1st quarter taxes, and I am sure there are things I am forgetting! yipes!

When I get home from Italy I only have 4 days before I turn around to leave to teach at Art and Soul in Virginia. So I am getting ready for the VA trip as well as Italy. I have to pack up things to ship off there while I am gone. I'll leave a box with my mom and dad and then have DHL guy pick it up at their house. Whew! Deep breaths... deep breaths... it will all get done!


closeout sale!
Hi everyone! I am posting the rubberstamp sheets here that I am closing out. Since I redesigned my site they are no longer available there. I have about 10 sheets left of each design. All sheets are 8.5"x11" and are $30 - free shipping! Click images to view larger. Just click the pay pal button below the sheet that you want. Email me with any questions!


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