Give Thanks to the Lord, for He Is Good...


Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD he is God:
it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.
- Psalm 100 -

Happy Thanksgiving!



A quick little thank you...

I'd like to thank all of you who came out to Fine Art in the Park in Jonesborough this past weekend. When I pulled into town on Sunday morning for the second day of the show, there were a ton of birds flying around the Courthouse clock tower. It was so pretty to watch...

We had beautiful weather for the show, and there was a pretty good turnout. I appreciate all of you who came by to show your support and also those of you who purchased something - thank you.

If you weren't able to make it, I reopened my Etsy shop today. I have several updates to the shop coming soon, so be sure to check back frequently for new items. It's never too early to begin Christmas shopping...

I'll be spending the next few days getting caught up on everything I neglected while getting ready for the show, but I hope to get back to more regular posting on here soon.

I hope you're having a lovely week.


{Art} 4th Annual Fine Art in the Park

Hi there. Things may be a little quiet here on the blog for the next couple of weeks - that's because I'm in the final stages of pre-art-show-preparation-manic-frenzy! However, I did want to let you know that you are invited to....

in Jonesborough, TN
Dates & Times:
Saturday, October 20th - 10am-5pm
Sunday, October 21st - Noon-5pm
This will be a judged and juried show and will include a variety of fine art and crafts from local artists and artisans, as well as a tasting area where you can sample locally made cheese, chocolate, wine, and honey.
This will be the last public show that I will be participating in before we move to Spain, so if you've been wanting to browse through my work in person, this is your opportunity!
I will be selling originals, various sizes of prints, greeting cards, pins, necklaces, and magnets featuring my original artwork.
Be sure to stop by and say hello if you come, and feel free to share the Facebook Event with your friends and family - the more, the merrier!
Hope to see you there!


Amazing "Artsy" Cakes and a Birthday Giveaway!

It's my birthday today, and I just had to show you the incredible "artsy" birthday cakes that my best friend surprised me with last night:
She made a palette, complete with water dish and real paint brush:
...and an easel, with one of my own watercolor paintings on it! To do this, she took one of my greeting cards to a bakery where they scanned it, then printed it on edible paper using food coloring! How cool is that?
Thanks, Keri! What a great birthday surprise!
And now, I have a little surprise for one of you, dear readers.
Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win!
One entry per person...
The prize is a surprise from me, to one of you!
Giveaway ends when my birthday does (EST). :o)
* This giveaway is now closed.*


{Art} Wooden Tile Jewelry DIY

Does it annoy you when you ask someone for a recipe, only to be told that it's "a secret," and if they told you, they'd "have to kill you"?

Yeah, me too. If you've got a good thing going, why not share it?

I feel the same about art and craft techniques. Because each person brings his or her own unique style to the table, it doesn't really matter if they're using the same technique as I am, because it's still going to be different. That's the beauty of art....

One of my lovely readers (Hi, Stella!) recently contacted me and asked if I would give her the scoop on how I make the necklaces, pins, and magnets featuring my artwork that I carry in my Etsy Shop. Since she's not the first to request this info, I thought I'd share a little tutorial here for all of my readers. Please just be sure to use images to which YOU own the copyright - don't use someone else's artwork or photography to make your pendant... It's illegal, and it's tacky. Be original (and legal)!

Okay, so let's get started!

Supplies You Will Need:
  • Small wooden tiles - round, rectangular, square: choose the shape and size that will suit your image best.
  • Sand paper - if you're buying pre-cut tiles, they are usually smooth enough to use without sanding. However, if you wind up cutting your tiles to size from small craft boards (available at craft stores - I've used basswood strips from Hobby Lobby before), you'll need to give them a good sanding.
  • Fine grade steel wool - if any of the clear layers get "bubbles" in them, let them dry, and then use this to lightly sand the bubbles out. Add another clear coat on top to bring back the shine.
  • 2 flat paint brushes (Designate one for the black paint and one for the clear coat. It's best to get a new brush for the clear coat, and only use it for clear coats. If there is any paint dried in the brush, it will flake out into your clear coat and cause you a lot of frustrations!)
  • Black acrylic paint or whatever color you want the back and sides of the tiles to be. I use black for most of mine, but I've also used dark brown.
  • Mod Podge - "Hard Coat" is my favorite, but any should work since you're covering it with...
  • Some type of super thick, crystal clear varnish or epoxy for the top coat. I use "Triple Thick" by DecoArt. Some people use a product called "Liquid Glass." Whatever you use, make sure it's safe for jewelry/wearing on skin.
  • High quality printed images featuring your original work sized to fit your tiles. (Please be aware that copyright laws DO apply here - don't use someone else's work for your project without permission - including mine. :o) Thanks!) I make my own prints with my Canon Pro9000 printer on Epsom Ultra Premium Presentation Paper (Matte). I do my editing and resizing in Photoshop. You can use artwork or photographs - Moms/Grandmas LOVE when you make these featuring photos of their kids/grand kids!
  • Sharp scissors, a paper cutter, or punches to cut out images (punches are especially handy for round images - they give you a perfect circle, which is very difficult to hand cut with scissors).
  • Jewelry glue
  • Metal bails, chains or supplies to make your own cords, glue-on pin backs, magnets, etc., depending on what you're going to be making.
OK, the first order of business is to size your images to fit your tiles. Print them, let the ink dry, then cut them out carefully. Make sure that they fit on the tiles exactly, without overlapping the edges.

Paint your (smoothly sanded) tiles with black acrylic paint, and let them dry.

After the paint is thoroughly dry, use the Mod Podge to decoupage the images onto the tops of the tiles. Paint a layer directly onto the wood, then immediately place the paper on top and add a coat on top of the paper. Be sure to take some of the Mod Podge down the sides of the tile. Let this dry thoroughly, then coat the back and sides (again on the sides) with Mod Podge, so that the entire tile has been coated once, with the layers overlapping on the sides. Let this dry.

At this point, I usually add a little initial "signature" on the back of the tile with gold acrylic ink, but it's not necessary.

Now is a good time to give the image side a quick little rub down with the steel wool. This smooths out any brush marks and/or bubbles and creates a smooth surface for your top coat.

Next, you're going to coat the back and sides of the tile with the clear top coat (Triple Thick). Let this dry thoroughly. Flip the tile over, then add a coat of the Triple Thick to the top (image side) of the tile, and allow it to overlap the first coat a bit on the sides. Let it dry.

If any bubbles have formed over the image, use the steel wool again to smooth them out.

Repeat the clear top coat at least once more, making sure to let each side dry completely before flipping the tile. Be sure to cover the sides of the tile as well as the top and bottom. Add as many coats as you like, depending on how "thick" you want it to look. I usually do 2 coats.

Once the final clear coat has dried, you can turn your tile into something! I make a lot of necklaces, so I use jewelry glue (kind of like super glue) to adhere metal bails onto the backs of the tiles, then I make satin cords with clasps to serve as the necklace part. I also have turned tiles into pretty magnets or brooches by gluing round magnets or pin backs onto the backs of the tiles.

You can get creative here and try all sorts of things: pins, magnets, necklaces, bracelets, hair clips, ornaments, push pins, etc.

After I glue the findings onto the wooden tile, I usually do a "touch up coat" of the Triple Thick to finish it off. Sometimes the jewelry glue creates a cloudy haze around the metal finding, and adding another layer of the Triple Thick in that area will get rid of that and make it look shiny and polished all over.

The clear coat needs to cure for a few days before you do much with it - I usually suspend the necklaces by the cords to let the air circulate around the pendants. You just don't want to let them be touching anything until the top coat cures and hardens, or it can leave dents in the clear coat or get stuck to something. 

My studio always looks pretty crazy when it's "jewelry-making time"! I use dowel rods, yard sticks, and curtain rods wedged under heavy items on my shelves to create hanging space for curing large batches of jewelry. Be sure to leave a little space between each tile. I usually let them hang up for at least 3-4 days before packaging or wearing them.
Well, that's it! I hope I've covered everything clearly here and that you've found this helpful. If you decide to try making one of these yourself, I'd love to see photos of your finished project! Feel free to ask if you have any questions - you can use the comment form below, or e-mail me.
Happy Crafting!
Linking up on Friday at:


{Art} Wedding Pretties and How to Make a Doily Lantern

Last weekend my friend Keri and I had the honor of doing most of the decorating for the wedding of some dear friends. I thought I'd share some of the prettiness with you here today...

To save money, we decided to do our own flower arrangements. The only thing we purchased were the roses - everything else was gathered from around our yards and nearby fields.

Welcome to the "flower sweat shop."

The day before the wedding, we went out early to pick the Queen Anne's Lace, ivy, and other greenery we used in the arrangements. It was a beautiful morning, and there were spider webs covered with dew all over the field: amazing!

Thankfully, there was still plenty of Queen Anne's Lace blooming, although we did have to relocate a few little visitors...

Anyway, back to the wedding.... Keri made the arrangements for the wedding party: the boutonnieres, corsages, and these gorgeous bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids...

And I did the arrangements for the pews, the altar, and the candlesticks...

For the reception, the bride had requested a piñata! How fun is that? We couldn't find a "wedding" themed piñata anywhere locally, so Keri found this tutorial online and made this fantastic wedding cake piñata herself! She did an amazing job!
As you can see, it was a big hit at the reception. - {groans} You know I had to, right?

My own craft project for the reception was this doily "chandelier," which we strung up with white Christmas lights and a canopy made from fabric normally used to cover tobacco beds (How's that for re-purposing?!?). We got the fabric at a farm supply store, and it's a pretty economical way to do something like this. The closest thing I can compare the fabric to is interfacing used for sewing, but this is MUCH cheaper than interfacing...

Anyway, as you can see, it did a lot to dress up a rather plain, dark room and made it look much more elegant for the reception....

There are already several tutorials online for this, but to be honest, I found it to be WAY more complicated than they made it seem. I thought I'd share what I learned through my own experience with you, and hopefully it will save you from some of the frustrations I faced...

The first order of business was to go doily shopping! I wanted a variety of real, hand-made doilies made from cotton crochet thread (not the polyester, factory-made ones you get in stores), so Keri and I hit up some of our local antique stores. We managed to snag most of these for around $1-2 apiece. I brought them home and washed and ironed them first.

The tutorial I found said you could use one of these "punch" balloons to form the base. I tried this first; however, my balloon wound up leaking half its air the first night, and I had to re-do the whole thing. So use a sturdy beach ball!

On attempt #1, I tried using Elmer's Glue thinned down with a bit of water. This made the cotton doilies so heavy that they kept wanting to fall off of the balloon. I wound up only covering half of it at first, and I planned to do the other side when this had dried.... However, like I said, the balloon leaked, and I had to start over.

These doilies were super thick, and in hindsight, I think the thinner you could find them, the better off you'd be.

Boo! The balloon deflated! You can see the little loser on the right there, after the first night. I had to re-wash all of the doilies to remove the glue, then tried again on the beach ball. This is a 24" beach ball, and in hindsight (once again), I think one of those "clear" plastic beach balls would have worked better than this one (I'll tell you why later).

Okay, let's try this thing again.... The second time around, I did a better job of preparing my work area and gathering my supplies ahead of time, so it made the whole process much less frustrating.

I tied a string to the air vent in the ceiling and added a hook formed from a paper clip to the bottom of it. Then I tied another string to the plug of the beach ball, and tied a loop on the end. This allowed me to easily hang or remove the beach ball from the string whenever I needed to flip it over, rather than having to untie it. It's easier to work on if it's suspended, but there are times when you're going to need to manhandle the thing, so it's nice to be able to quickly take it down.

For the "glue" on this one, I wound up using a mixture of several things (several types of Mod Podge, fabric stiffener, and Plaster of Paris). However, as I learned on another project, I think I would have been better off with straight-up Mod Podge (the one marked for use on fabrics). If you use just the Mod Podge, I wouldn't thin it down any.
Because I had so much trouble getting the doilies to stick to the bottom of the balloon the night before (the force of gravity won out over the sticking power of the glue solution), I decided ahead of time that I was going to "tie" the doilies together as I placed them on the ball. This would also help hold the whole thing together once it dried and I had removed the beach ball...
As I added each doily, I used white crochet thread and a tiny crochet hook to help me anchor the doilies to the ones they overlapped. I simply threaded the string through the two doilies in several spots, and tied a good square knot. Once it was dry, I trimmed all of the ends of the string. This was a pretty tedious and messy process, so I don't have any pictures.... sorry....

Incidentally, another thing I learned was that it's not a great idea to choose doilies that have such loose, spidery looking areas as you see in the doily covering the upper yellow section below. They don't provide enough support once you remove the beach ball. Look for doilies that are lightweight, but have a fairly sturdy structure throughout the entire piece, like the one on the bottom left....

Depending on the type of lighting you intend to use inside the globe, you're going to need to leave an opening  or two in the doilies. I left an opening around the top where the string was attached, and I made it large enough to fit my hand inside. I also left another small opening on the bottom, which would allow you to replace a light bulb if you were using this with a pendant light kit. The openings also made it possible to get the beach ball out when it was dry.

Once I had all of my doilies tied in place, I let it dry overnight, then painted a second coat of my glue mixture over the whole thing. Again, in hindsight, I should have probably added several more coats of just plain Mod Podge and let it dry for a week or so before removing the beach ball, but we were getting ready for the wedding and in a bit of a rush...

Once the glue has dried and the doilies are feeling good and stiff, give it a few extra days to dry thoroughly, and then you can remove the beach ball. If you don't care about it, simply pop a few holes in it with a sharp knife, or if you want to reuse it, open the plug and carefully deflate it.

At this point, I realized that, while my doilies were stiff enough to hold a shape, they were still pretty pliable. If I had had time, I would have blown the ball back up, added a few more coats of Mod Podge, and let it dry longer.... but again, time was working against me. This type of beach ball also proved to get pretty "stuck" to the glue, so I really had to pry the doilies off of the plastic. I think the clear, plastic-y type of beach ball would be better than this opaque, more "rubbery" ball. (I used the clear type for another similar project, and it pulled away much easier... I'll be doing a post on that project later!)

Here it is once I got the beach ball out.... After it hung like this for a while, it started to sink in on itself a little. I wound up reinforcing it with a couple of rings made from a white wire coat hanger to support it during the wedding, and I used white twisty ties to suspend the string of Christmas lights all through the center. It held up enough to use for the wedding, although it became more "balloon" shaped rather than being perfectly round... You can see the difference in the two photos below...

At any rate, it was still beautiful, and it made the perfect centerpiece for our sparkly reception lighting. Now that the event is over, I may put the beach ball back in and add a few more coats of Mod Podge to get the sphere shape back, but we'll see...

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial! If you decide to try making one yourself, I'd love to see pictures! Thanks for reading!

Linking up today with Jennifer:



{Home} DIY: How to Fix a Broken Zipper

Once every year or two, we shop at a {name-brand} clothing clearance center where, in exchange for truly amazing deals on high-quality clothing, you occasionally have to deal with minor damages to your purchases. While it's a little more work to remove a stain, sew on a missing button, or repair an opened seam, the savings I get make it worthwhile to me.

On my latest trip, I grabbed several pairs of pants for Josh, but I didn't have time to check them thoroughly for damage before I checked out. When I got them home, we realized that the two pairs of jeans I had bought him had broken zippers. Normally, that's one thing that will make me pass up a purchase at the clearance center, but it was too late at that point. Not wanting to throw out two new, perfectly good pairs of jeans, I decided to try to replace the zippers myself. I thought I'd share a little tutorial with you in case you ever need to salvage a favorite pair of pants from the plight of the broken zipper too! It actually turned out to be easier than I expected.... So here goes.

How to Replace a Broken Zipper

You're going to need thread that matches the stitching on your jeans (they make special gold thread that is specifically marked for jeans). You're also going to need a brass jeans zipper - make sure it is as long as or longer than the old zipper. You'll also need a sturdy needle, and a sewing machine with a zipper foot.

The first order of business is to inspect the construction of the fly area of your jeans/pants. It's helpful to snap a few digital photos of the zipper for reference later when you're trying to put everything back together. Notice the placement of the zipper - you may want to make some marks with a washable fabric pen so that you see where it should go.

Just to clarify, I will be giving references based on what you're seeing in the photos, so when I say "on the left," it means on the left side of the picture, not the left side of the jeans if you're wearing them...

Okay. Now, after you've carefully inspected the construction of the zipper area, it's time to remove the old, broken zipper. Here you can see the missing teeth.... You're going to need to use a seam ripper and remove any stitching that is holding the zipper in or reinforcing the area. However, don't remove any more stitching than you have to, because, of course, you have to put it all back....

You can see below that I removed the stitching on about two inches of the waistband, the double row of reinforcement top stitching on the front of the fly, and, of course, the stitches on the actual zipper.

Once that's done, you'll see that on the left side of the jeans (if you're facing the front of them), there is an extra piece of fabric attached behind the zipper, which creates the background of the zipper when you're zipping it up (and keeps you from snagging your undies or skin in it - ouch!). When you remove the zipper, this piece will be loose in the middle, as you can see in the second picture below...

Once you've removed the old zipper, take the new one, and (making sure the pull is on the correct side), pin it in place on the "button-hole" side of the fly. This is where your markings and digital pics may come in handy. You can also use the old stitching holes as a reference. You're going to want to tuck the bottom of the zipper as deep down into the seam where the two sides meet as you can. If the zipper is too long (as mine was), no problem - you can trim it later.

Once you've gotten it pinned in place, carefully stitch it down using your zipper foot. If you're feeling ambitious, you can do a second row of stitching to reinforce the seam. Notice that you are only sewing it through the "flap" part that is on the inside of the fly. It should be folded out away from the jeans when you're stitching the zipper on, like you see below....

It should be looking something like this now...Next, you're going to reattach the waistband. If your zipper is too long, you can trim it off at the top. Don't worry if you have to cut the stop and some of the teeth off. The waistband is going to serve as the new stop anyway. Just carefully cut between the teeth.

Insert the zipper part up into the waistband, making sure all the raw edges are covered... It's a good idea to tuck the end in between the fold of the waistband end seam, like you see below. This keeps the rough edges of the top of the zipper part from sticking out in between the two sides of the waistband. (I hope this makes sense.... if you're in doubt, just study the picture below - in this case, pictures are definitely worth a thousand words.)

Once you've got it placed like you want it, carefully stitch the waistband back in place. Be sure to guide the needle slowly and carefully between the teeth of the zipper when you get to the metal part.

Once you've done this, the first side should look like this:

You can then re-do the double row of top stitching along the front of the outside of the fly. If your machine can't handle the thickness of the fabric down at the bottom, don't worry. You can finish that up with a needle and thread later...

Okay, moving on to the other side of the zipper.... the "button" side. The zipper is going to need to be sandwiched back in between the main part of the jeans and that loose flap piece in the middle, but just start by attaching it to the loose flap part. Use the needle holes from the old stitching to help you get it in place. It's also a good idea to try zipping it up once you've got it pinned to make sure it's aligned correctly with the other side.

As you can see here, it's going to be lined up about with the edge of the loose flap (I'm sure there's a technical name for this part of a garment, but I don't know it, and chances are, you don't either!). This is how it should look...

Go ahead and stitch it in place on the loose flap, then bring the "button side" of the jeans over on top of the zipper edge, and pin it in place. Once you've got it all lined up, stitch along the old seam line, like you see below...
Once that's done, you can reattach the waistband on the button side. Once again, cut the excess on the top of the zipper, avoiding the teeth, and pin everything in place. Tuck the raw edges inside one of the end folds of the waistband, so that the threads don't show.

Go ahead and stitch the waistband back in place, being careful to guide the needle through the metal teeth and avoiding the button.

Your jeans should be pretty much back together at this point. You can touch up any extra top stitching that you had to remove at this point...

And if there were any areas where the layers of fabric were too thick for your machine to handle, you can use your needle and thread to finish up the stitching. (A thimble helps push the needle through the heavy jean material.)

I also did a little whip stitch along the bottom of the fly area inside, partly to reinforce the area where the zipper meets at the bottom, and partly because having that area joined together makes it easier to put them on and zip them quickly.

Here's the finished view of the inside:


...and here's the outside. Good as new! I was really excited to learn how to do this. Josh got two new pairs of jeans out of it, and it saved me from having to pay a tailor to do it or from having to buy two more pairs of jeans. I hope you've found this helpful.... Yay for learning to DIY!