Friday, January 30, 2009

musings on my Mixed Media Art Class

Well, Monday came & went {Jan 26, 2009} and I'm finally posting my musings about the long-awaited MIXED MEDIA art class with Jane LaFazio. For more about Jane, visit her blog at:

this is Jane ... outdoors, watercolor journaling no doubt, wearing her fave color shoes: RED !! {photo borrowed from her site}

Twenty of us {19 women, 1 man} enrolled, and just one was absent at our 1st class session. The students come from all walks of life -- the corporate world, the artistic world, a blend of both -- and they come to class with varied experience with art, and with taking art classes. I was thrilled to hear that one student is a former editor for a creative publication company that I am just crazy about: Somerset. All ages, all levels of artistic ability, and from all over the county -- one gal even drives down from San Clemente for class!

Jane is a remarkable artist, and a remarkable teacher. It's one thing to be good at something; it's another to explain to others "a process". Especially when it comes to being creative!

speaking of "being creative", this is some of us, doing just that

I sat next to a sweet gal, Jean, and spent the break walking across the street for coffee with a dear lady named Noel. And come to find out, a childhood friend of my husband's is taking the class. She does longarm quilting, and so the learning experience at JUST ONE CLASS went above and beyond "mixed media". How many of you know what longarm quilting is?!

Below: this was our work table; these are my 2 pieces ...

they're very much "works in progress", quite literally, as we bring them back to the next 2 class sessions to continue creating

So there's a few photos taken at class on 1/26 ... we have a substitute teacher on 2/2 ... another fabulous local artist, Helen Shafer Garcia ... and I'll take photos each week for posting here.

and this is Benny the Bedlington ... this is the 1 man in my class; he's taking it with his wife -- and I'm so envious -- they're about to move all their art supplies into a proper STUDIO down at Liberty Station ... wow!
Questions, anybody?
your ...
Princess Magpie

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I'm so excited !!! Today is finally here -- heading off to "play" all day with my friend Cynthia, with whom I attended a workshop in 2007 at this same venue {Watercolor Journaling, with Jane LaFazio}.

So here's what we're up to for today:

Passages: Exploring Life's Transitions with Ellen
* Saturday, January 24, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Times of transition can bring instability to our lives. Changes also challenge us to explore new ways to move forward. This workshop provides a variety of art experiences designed to help us reflect on the patterns of our life passages. We playfully end the workshop by creating "survival kits" to help us along the journey. It has become our tradition to begin the year with this workshop to "jump start" the season. NO artistic skill is necessary, only the willingness to play.

Please dress for playing in the garden and getting messy. Bring a sack lunch and a water bottle. I will provide breakfast for you in the lower garden at 9:00 AM.

I hope you will get out and do something creative today, too.

-- Princess Magpie

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Scrappin' at Dusty's

I just received the photos taken by Lyn at our last SCRAPPIN' AT DUSTY'S Retreat (Jan 9-11).

Photo at left was taken SUN morning, after more than 36 hours of scrapping (well, and sleeping, too) ... Dusty was advising me on background paper color choices for some layouts for our 2008 trip to Europe. She's so good with color, design, techniques ... I've learned so much, yet have so much more to learn ...
In the above photo, you can see part of two work stations - we each have TWO really good lamps on our table, for "correct" light helps one make "correct" color choices. We also have a full set of ink "spots" to use if stamping, all sorts of cutting tools, plenty of workspace, and we are surrounded by a large room full of all the materials, tools, supplies one could want to use for scrapping & card-making. Dusty's Retreats are the BEST !!!

Photo at left shows two more work stations, and Dusty's desk facing the window (which looks out to the pool and jacuzzi, which if one WANTED to take the time to use, one could - but one never does!) -- you can also see the large screen TV that we watch movies on while we work.

This next photo shows the work station where the Sizzix die-cut tools are kept -- this is where we cut out letters for our layouts, if we are so inclined.
So not only does Dusty make the best Lattes (coffee OR tea) that I've ever had - really - but she's a heck of a cook, and she takes care of dinner for us on Friday & Saturday nights (for the 2-night Retreats), as well as Saturday's breakfast. We're on our own for lunch, but with the yummy leftovers to be had, or all the sandwich fixings one could ask for -- it's a breeze. {Did I also mention the candy basket that lurks just around the corner from our work space?}
Photo, left, of Dusty's kitchen & dining area -- just off her Great Room, where one can relax and catch the news or a football game if one needs a break from their scrapping.
NOTE that Dusty sets the table for dinner using her beautiful china ... and we are usually treated to cloth napkins, too. It's delightful.
And while one can't always get this lucky, on Jan 10, the Full Moon was "the biggest and brightest one would ever likely see it", according to the news -- so we all took a trip or two outside to sneak a peek. It was a sight to behold !!!
I am so looking forward to my next full weekend at Dusty's, in late March. Now you can all see why I am crazy for this lady, and for these Retreat getaways. I encourage you all to take it under consideration this first half of the new year. You've probably got a baby book to put together, or a wedding album, or your pet's photos in a pile, just waiting for an opportunity like this to assemble them into a wonderful keepsake. And if you're not into scrapping your memories, how about making home-made cards for everyone that you send one to in the year - list all the family & friend birthdays, and make them each a card they'll cherish.
-- Princess Magpie

Friday, January 16, 2009

Finding the Balance

Motherhood / Creativity.

Although my children are grown, and our "grands" are all over the age of 9 now, I continue to struggle with BALANCE in my life. I admit, I have a really hard time saying "no" when asked to do something ... but I'm learning to set boundaries. Sometimes I have to say "no" when I truly, really do not want to say "no" - but other priorities get in the way of things I want to do {like starting a new batch of limoncello this week with Victoria ... I just had to bow out, and it about killed me to do that ...}.

I'm "lifting" this quote from the Daily "I Love You, Mom" calendar that Kristi gave me for Christmas:

"Motherhood brings as much joy as ever, but it still brings boredom, exhaustion, and sorrow, too. Nothing else ever will make you as happy or as sad, as proud or as tired, for nothing is quite as hard as helping a person develop his own individuality especially while you struggle to keep your own."
-- Marguerite Kelly & Elia Parsons

Interesting - I've never seen a quote from two people before! I like the collaborative effort ...

So remember ... whether it's motherhood, your career, your education, your marriage / personal relationships, your health, your other family commitments, or your volunteerism - there will ALWAYS be something out there to get in the way of your CREATIVITY. Something to try to "rob" you of your individuality.

Maybe "rob" is too strong a word. "Sap" you of some of that creative energy might be more appropriate.

Whatever the case might be, STAY STRONG. Stay committed to your craft. Carve out time for being creative and always, always be on the lookout for inspiration.

Be well, creative friends. I'll be off-line until Monday, so ...

MAKE ME PROUD. Do something creative today!

-- Princess Magpie, aka, DAH

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pearlized Paints

Ooh la la !!! This little image of pearlized paints, which I have never used nor even seen in person, really grabs me --
I find it very inspiring, and it encourages me to get my "messy crafting spot" down in our Garage ... ready!
Ready for creative adventures, ready for making a mess, ready for doing "homework" from the upcoming Mixed Media {art} class that I'm going to take, which begins 1/26/09.
Just look at those colors -- imagine what one could do with such a rainbow to choose from.
Princess Magpie, aka, DAH

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Just home from another FANTASTIC, FABULOUS, REMARKABLE, FUN-FILLED, PROJECT-FILLED weekend retreat at Scrappin' at Dusty's, in La Quinta, CA. is the website if you'd like to take a closer look at what she has going on out there in Wonderland ...

My friend Lyn and I went over on Friday afternoon, and spent the Retreat with a couple of lovely gals from Orange County, Krista & Melinda. What amazing women are repeat visitors to Dusty's !!!

Did I mention that when one attends a Retreat at Dusty's, EVERYTHING is included?

If you are making cards, you don't have to take a single thing.

If you are working on a scrapbook, all you need are your photos, and the pages (and scrapbook) they will reside in when finished.

Literally EVERYTHING you could want to use to get creative -- is there, and is included in the price.

Did I mention that the beds are "I can hardly wait to crawl into bed" comfy?

They are! Pillow top mattresses, the world's softest & freshest sheets, a warm comforter to cozy into, and an extra blanket if you need it. And the pillows - ah, heavenly. I always get a super good night's sleep when I'm at Dusty's.

Did I mention yet that Dusty makes the world's best Caffe Lattes?

She does! And all your meals are also included. I'm not kidding! {Did I mention the big candy basket from which one can, if one is so inclined, snack from as you like!?}

So what are all the nifty supplies available for you to use? The list is endless, so I encourage you to visit Dusty's website to get a gander of just a sampling of what's out there ...

For now, I can provide you with this:

the largest collection of high-quality rubber stamps I've ever seen
the most beautiful, high-quality INKS for stamping with - in every color under the sun
tons of paper - solids, patterns, all weights, even vellum(s)
brads, eyelets, crystal bits, and drawers full of ribbon
{Dusty's is an embellisher's dream-come-true}
many wonderful die-cuts to choose from, and a Sizzix and a Big Shot

Each work table contains ALL THE NECESSARY TOOLS to get the job done --- an array of adhesives, scissors, a paper cutter, cool tools for cutting out special shapes (forget the name!), and plenty of terrific working light ... TWO lamps on each work table.

Did I mention that it's a wonderful thing to do with your {adult} daughters, or your best girlfriends, or your mother - ANY of your most favorite people? IT IS !!!

We can watch movies on a big-screen TV, we can listen to music of any genre, we can laugh and tell stories, or we can just all work quietly ... whichever mood we're in, it all seems to work just fine for the group.

A retreat at Scrappin' at Dusty's is for ANY and ALL experience levels. As a beginner, you will learn SO VERY MUCH about whatever it is you want to work on - be it stamping or scrapbooking. As someone with a little {or a lot} of experience at this kind of thing, I would venture to say you'll pick up some new technique each time you attend a weekend at Dusty's. {I know I do !!!}

It's an incredible experience.

Did I already mention that it's AN INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE? I can't say it enough.

When I get photos from my friend Lyn, I'll be sure to post on this blog ... I'm kicking myself that I forgot to take my camera with me this weekend.

IF YOU HAVE AN INTEREST IN GOING, I can't recommend it highly enough.

Your VERY happy, can't wait to go again ...

Princess Magpie, aka DAH

Monday, January 5, 2009

Books for Creative Inspiration

"It is time to browse through the precious books that have meant the most to you that you may rediscover illuminating phrases and sentences to light your pathway to the future."

-- Wilferd Peterson

Being an avid reader {some might call me a rabid reader!}, I know that oftentimes, when reading a book - fact or fiction, serious or light in mood - I am moved to highlight or underline a word, a phrase, a sentence, even an entire paragraph - because it just "speaks" to me.

Words are often such good inspiration for me, creatively. I am also quite visual, but it's usually in the spoken or read word that I find an idea for -- a new collage, a greeting card, some sort of project.

Sometimes I just want to illustrate a word or a phrase -- I've even seen art journals where quotes are used as the "text", and the pages are full of snips of ephemera, original works, or some combination of the two -- to SHOW what the artist feels the quote is saying.

So many possibilities ... creative ideas come fast and furious these days, without the means for expression. So I make ... notes-to-self and lists, of future collage works.

Ah, a brand new year lies ahead.

-- Princess Magpie, aka DAH

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Art Journaling

My beautiful niece Wendy and I took a trip to the local Barnes & Noble the other day, both with the intention of spending our Christmas gift cards on things we "couldn't live without".

Which, I admit, is never a problem for me ... B & N is my addiction, but books are a healthy addiction, so no need to organize an intervention for me - not yet, anyway.

What I found that I could not live without was a new Stampington / Somerset publication called ART JOURNALING by Somerset Studio, and wow, was it worth every penny {okay, dollar}. There is so much visual & creative stimulation packed in these pages, I relished the forced BREAK I had to take when the phone rang! {that says a lot}

I encourage you to take a look for yourself -- I guarantee that whether or not you keep a journal, an ART JOURNAL will appeal to you on some, if not many, level/s.

Here's the link to the magazine -- take note and get yourself out to buy your very own copy.


Princess Magpie, aka, DAH

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year, Everyone

"Dream lofty dreams and as you dream, so shall you become."
-- James Allen

I wish for you all a happy, healthy, prosperous, exciting, adventurous NEW YEAR ... full of creativity, full of happiness, full of energy and full of special times -- especially with loved ones.

Me, I am dreaming of having my "messy art space" down in our garage, so the task lies ahead to CLEAR THAT SPACE and make it a working space ... what a lofty dream !!!

The "clean" projects can continue to be done in the house, but it's the messy ones that I can't wait to sink my teeth into in this coming new year.

Be happy, and be on the lookout for creative inspiration ...

All the best to you, my friends, in this new year -- happy 2009 !!!

-- Princess Magpie, aka DAH