Sunday, March 01, 2015


February 2015 has come to an end and we inch closer to Spring. Happy March!
Like the snow in New England, blessings abound:
A friend sent me this image to remind me that spring is coming... and if it doesn't, we have means to cope.
My sister received the care package that we sent to her boys! Not only was it fantastic that it arrived (and nothing short of a miracle, due to the Italian post) but the gorgeous hand-knit baby blanket and Elephant "Tino" arrived as well... in great shape. Ashley designed them, knit them without a pattern and selected the softest yarn she could find.
And here is the image that melted our hearts: Sleeping Sam with his new blankie.
Jonathan and I went to our favorite Indian restaurant and had a feast. The food is utterly delicious, spiced perfectly, and the staff always spoils us. Plus, the company was fantastic.
I'm busy working on two paintings for the Gallery Show in March. It's challenging and a bit scary -- but I'm going to do it.

Allie was inducted into the Order of The Engineer for her work as a computer engineer and degree in engineering. It's an honor that marks engineers as identifiable by the simple ring on their pinky finger. I like to tease her about wearing cloak and having a secret handshake. As you can imagine, I am the only one that finds that amusing.
 It's hard to believe it, but this little girl is already 3 years old and interviewed for preschool!
She got in! Her mom called to tell me that Ellie will be a Berwick Bulldog next year. Her parents are thrilled. I never doubted it for a moment. This little child is brilliant and the school will be lucky to have her.
I am grateful to have been part of Journal52, the weekly online art journal prompting phenomenon. I've talked to so many talented ladies. Thank you all for reaching out to me!
Jon and I went to a Charity Dinner on Friday and created a "New England Breakfast" gift basket for the silent auction. (I'll post about that later in the week). Jon looked so handsome. 
It's been 5 weeks since I fractured my ankle and I'm back on the tennis court and running again. Yay! It's not back to normal, but I'm back, so my ankle better catch up! Truthfully, I am taking it very cautiously. I wear a solid brace and high top sneakers for support, so I feel like I'm wearing ski boots on the clay. I've continued with physical training exercises to strengthen it. I only wish my body was as tough as my will or as my husband would say, "as stubborn"...  To that, I say, "If the tennis shoe fits, get out and play."

Friday, February 27, 2015

Journal52.... An Amazing Art Prompt Site

Journal52 is the inspiring art journal prompt site created by Chelle Stein, a talented and generous artist.
I am so fortunate that she included me as a guest artist for Week 9 in 2015!

Chelle offered me the freedom to create any prompt I wanted, so I chose one of my tried-and-true favorites with a theme of Restraint.
Now, restraint seems like a hinderance, not something inspiring! But, if you consider it for a moment,  it's full of possibilities.
Restraint is focus, discretion, and choice. None of these things would be possible without freedom and so therefore, I see restraint as a sister to freedom.
So, how does restraint play into art?
Well, think of all the possibilities in art... color, texture, medium, size, shape. These can be overwhelming at times. Restraint is setting limits or rules and since you are the artist, you set those rules as you like.  It's restraint to choose a single color and shape... not a punishment, but a focus.
So, I created the lesson for Artistic Restraint. The lesson is up on the Journal52 website as well as Facebook. (It's a free group, anyone can join, so please do!)

When I created the lesson, I was very long winded and edited out a lot to make it concise. Here's a more detailed version of the early stages, but be sure to go to the Journal52 site to see the finishing steps.
 Here's the finished journal page. This background was made from one shape and one color (plus black and white). Even using restraint in limiting colors and a shape, you can get a very detailed result.
Left to Right: condiment bowl, homemade foam stamp, homemade carved block, PVC plumbing pipe, paper towel roll, homemade cardstock template
 There are many ways to go about making the single shape. You can use any household object as a stamp, make your own (using foam sheets, carving blocks) or make a template from cardstock and some paper punches.
There are many sites with easy stamp carving tutorials. I traced the shape I wanted and carved away the inside, leaving a perimeter for the stamp.
The foam stamp required precise cutting with an sharp blade and then adhering it to another piece of foam.
The template was by far the simplest and then you can trace the shapes on the paper.
Once you have selected your shape, now choose a color... This is where restraint should be used.
I took my color, a yellowish- orange and mixed some with a bit of black and some with a LOT of white to get variations in the original color.
Then, the steps as shown above. I stamped the image using my original color paint all over the page. I overlapped quite a bit. Feel free to overlap as little or as much as you like. Let the paint dry.
Then begin filling in the shapes with the different colors you've created. Make more colors, if needed.
Continue to fill in until you are happy with the page. I filled in everything, but you don't have to.
Here is the result of the page using one shape and one color, plus black and white. You can stop here and use this as a base for collage, you can add more layers and more shapes and colors, if you like.

Removing Permanent Marker from Most Things

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Daily Sketches: Bears

Bear #26 was cute with his bunch of balloons. I tired to make it look like he had a hard time not floating away.
You can color in all 28 bears and follow along. Download the complete 

Daily Sketches: Bears

Bear #25 was a simple one, but I like the texture of the fur. I used a combination of browns, grays, and purple.
You can color in all 28 bears and follow along. Download the complete 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cooking with Girl Scout Cookies

It just so happens that we have a little girl scout in the family.

Since none of us can resist her offer to purchase cookies, we gladly "help her out". If you have a lovely in your life that you may have purchased a few more boxes than needed, why not use them as an ingredient in other recipes? They are delicious on their own... but really, after the third box, you might want a change of pace.

Dine & Dish created this Girl Scout Fudge recipe that ingeniously uses ANY flavor cookie!
Country Cleaver made Thin Mint Brownies
Little Brownie Bakers made a No-Bake Samoa Cheeescake
Little Brownie Bakers made a Raisin Apple Crisp
The Hungry Housewife created Samoa Rice Krispie Treats
The Recipe Critic made Thin Mint Truffles (perfect for St. Patrick's Day)

There's savory recipes too!

Little Brownie Bakers made a Do-Si-Dos Peanut Thai Chicken and a Samoa Fried Shrimp.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Daily Sketches: Bears

Bear #24 was a little different than the others. I drew him quickly and liked the end result. After it was colored and shaded, I realized that the cheek was out of proportion, but because it's a simple sketch, it's OK.
You can color in all 28 bears and follow along. Download the complete 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Daily Sketches: Bears

Bear #23 is a cute little guy holding a balloon. I love his odd expression.

You can color in all 28 bears and follow along. Download the complete 

Daily Sketches: Bears

 I like Bear #22. The basic sketch made him look a bit angry, but with shading, I was able to make him more pleasant.
You can color in all 28 bears and follow along. Download the complete 

Sunday, February 22, 2015


This week has been filled with more blessings than I can count.
We returned this angel to college following successful surgery. She has to wear a sling for a while, but she's doing well.
 Jon was busy clearing snow... tons and tons of snow from our walkway.
My father saved me. I got the fantastic news that my books had sold out at the local bookstore and they needed more books. It's such great news and I was thrilled. Add to that, my father delivered my books for me. I'm so fortunate to have such a helpful and supportive father. Thank you, Dad!
 In the height of winter, it's amazing to see some colorful botanicals.

Bear Climbing Tree Postcard
Bear Climbing Tree Postcard by DMellenDesigns
I uploaded more postcards to my DM Designs store on dazzle.
 Jon and I did a beachfront workout. It was such a great change from all that snow, cold, and frigid temperatures.
 My youngest nephew has a million dollar smile....
 Which runs in the family with his older brother!
 My oldest nephew got a visit from a colorful crew...
 My oldest niece had a Valentine's birthday!
And my youngest niece had 3rd birthday. The snowman cake is fitting. All too fitting!