Visiting the farm

Back in September the old guy, Rachel, and I had a chance to travel to Trade, Tennessee to visit our middle child/Rachel’s brother, on their small farm. A visit to their farm is like stepping back into a quieter time with a much slower pace.

46827906_308640779754993_4536570828581502976_n (1)

Kevin (River) and Sarina bought the 13-acre farm nearly two years ago. They packed up everything they wanted to bring with them from Oregon and traveled through the mountains in December’s snow and ice. They have some funny stories about that trip and I’m hoping someday they blog about their farm life.

icelandic goat
Milking goat. These guys are cute and friendly.

They raise Icelandic chickens, Icelandic sheep, rabbits and have added a couple milking goats recently. Sarina takes care of animals while Kevin works part-time and spends many of his free hours carving. Together they’re carving out the life they want to live in Appalachia.

Icelandic Sheep. They have the strangest eyes.

You can follow them from their Facebook pages – Mezzaluna Farmstead and River Neff, website (where you can purchase their sheep skins or carved spoons),  or Instagram. They’re doing some amazing stuff and I cannot wait to visit again!


Playing with craft paint and paper

Boy, today is a good day to sit indoors and play. I’ve really taken a liking to art journals over the past couple years. I’ve been teaching art journal classes as well. I think what I enjoy most about the craft is the freedom to play. There is no right or wrong, no special tools required, and there are no steps to follow to get it right.

I tend to play with the myriad of products already in my stash. Those can include scrapbook paper, old book pages, acrylic paints, Distress Inks, Alcohol Inks, etc. Lately it’s been the Americana acrylic paints from DecoArt. They’re relatively inexpensive and they’re readily available at any craft store and even some big-box stores.

It’s fun to pull out a pile of stuff and just mix it up and see what happens to the paper. One idea leads to another, and another, and another.

Here’s how it usually happens. I squirt some paint on my non-stick craft sheet and spritz it with plain water. This makes the paint a bit runny and easier to blend.


I place my pages face down into the liquid pool and gently turn it and swish it a bit to get this.


These pages can either be spritzed with more water to make the paint run or heat set as-is to add a bit of texture. Aren’t those swirls so luscious? Next I’ll add in some stamping – not too much, just a little, using a waterproof ink (I like Ranger’s Archival Ink in Jet Black). Using a peeled back piece of corrugated cardboard dabbed in some red paint, I’ll add some bold lines randomly on the page; trying to maintain some balance.


I can create even more texture by using gesso through a stencil like I did here with the small circles. I prefer gesso over modeling paste sometimes because it still gives me texture without so much thickness. These books can get pretty thick quickly!


So, I’ve toned down the colors quite a bit by washing a soft blue over some of the page. I’ve added a bit more stamping along with some gold paint – I love a pop of metallic! This is my background for a journal page. I like to add photos to my art journals, after all, I started out as a scrapbooker. I love these backgrounds mixed with photos to tell a story.


My next art journal session begins Monday, Oct. 22 and runs for four consecutive Mondays from 6-8 p.m. Fly Away is the theme for our next round of art journal pages in Brighton. Join us! Register or find more information in my online store. Classes are taught at the CoBACH Center in Brighton and we’re trying to get them going in Holly at The Vintage Farm House. If you’d like to see more of what the students are doing in class, visit my Facebook page and give it a like –

Creating is good for the soul

I never claimed to be an artist. I couldn’t tell you which colors will play off each other nicely, how to draw a face, the fundamental concepts of composition and design (heck, I don’t even know what that means!). What I do know is how to sit and create (play with my stuff).

Such a whimsical beauty from Funky Flora Art Journal class.

I also know that when I take the time to sit, create, and play, I can lose myself for hours and totally forget about the world around me and just totally relax and let go. It’s something I feel a lot of us feel guilty about the taking the time for. We need play time, whether that be creating art, gardening, cooking, reading. We just need it. It’s good for the soul.

I love the vibrant yellow used on the background of this Funky Flora Art Journal page.

Getting back into teaching forces me to sit and play with all my pretty (and ugly) papers, paints, inks, tools and all those products I bought and can’t remember why. Those who attend my classes are also forced, if only for two hours, to sit, create, play, and socialize. I actually call it creative playtime for adults. They make new friends, they get messy, and they relax and have fun. Some even continue with playtime once they leave class because there is homework – if they choose to do it.

These hexagons were all cut by hand from photos – The creativity is amazing!

I’ve been teaching Art Journaling and Scrap your Stash at the CoBACH Center in Brighton; hoping to develop even more classes soon. I am a member of the Brighton Art Guild. Yep, thrown in there with all those talented, crazy-good creatives. It’s been wonderful.

Using what’s in your stash. Mix and match papers and embellies with some technique.

Join us for an upcoming class; we’re always looking to make new friends. Check out my offerings in my online store. To see an even greater sampling of student works, stop by my Facebook page. Give it a Like!