Friday, December 28, 2012

My JUNK List

I am hoping that those of you who read my blog can help me locate some items that I need to create some pieces for the studio. Unfortunately I recently cleaned out the garage and the storage room and recycled some stuff that I wish I had kept.

But that's always the case isn't it?

In fact there are several people in the area who drop off the most random stuff to me in hopes I might be able to use it. To them I say : THANK YOU! I use the most random stuff all the time in the studio!

So here's the list:
bicycle tires- any size- with or without tubes- doesn't matter
plaster or ceramic statues of people- can be full body or a bust- any condition too- in fact broken limbs, chipped noses would be totally acceptable                                        


Venus De Milo would be awesome!
as would cherubs or cherubjust a bust of a woman on a pedestal!

Paintbrushes that are beyond using- the big ones like you would paint a house with- not artist's brushes

and as always- feel free to drop off wine corks, interesting empty glass bottles, bits of yarn or anything else you think Laura might be able to use- you just never know. And if I personally can't use it my students will more than likely be able to use it.

Everything I am looking for is stuff that you would throw away. Or should throw away you just haven't gotten around to it. So check your basement, garage and storage shed. I really need some junk! I promise I will post pictures of what I do with the items I find.
pile of junk
"To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." Thomas Edison

Friday, November 30, 2012 hear sleighbells in the snow....

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas....  
When I was growing up my Mom had this thing about Christmas.

She. LOVED. It.

The Decorating. The Shopping. The Baking. the Giving.

                                              ...have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.....

Our house was transformed from the day after Thanksgiving until the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th with festive decorations.  The banister in the living room to the piano, the buffet and the big mirror. The mantle, the front door, the dining room and even the kitchen had a bit of Christmas Cheer.

Then there was the tree. Oh my - that tree was so loaded with lights and decorations that it looked magical. And, in a way it was. Because every morning of the weeks leading up to Christmas the pile of presents under the tree grew. Some years I swear the tree was held up by the presents because I remember a few Christmas mornings when the tree fell over after all the presents were distributed. 

Red and green all through the house.
Glitter and tinsel and lights.
Decorations made at Scouts
The advent wreath with new candles
Perry Como, Bing Crosby, The Little Drummer Boy, The Boston Pops
The Nativity Scene handmade by Dad - but you can't put the Christ child in the manger- he hasn't been born yet!

It was such a time of anticipation and wonder.

...Just like the ones I used to know...
There were TONS of presents ( imagine 5-6 gifts per child and there were EIGHT kids- add in gifts from grandparents and as we got older gifts to each other and spouses and grandchildren and Mom and Dad- yeah pretty darn amazing) but my parents didn't let in commercialism. It was about family - and food.

We spent a weekend early in December making cookies and Italian Goodies so we could make up "Goody Trays"- as Mom called them- to give away to neighbors and friends. The sibs and I spent countless hours staging our own version of the First Christmas on cold December nights or going out into the neighborhood to sing Christmas carols.

The Annual Christmas Party at the American Legion
" Timothy Mouse"
 "Going on a Bear Hunt"
And the visit from Santa Clause
Red mesh stockings filled with an orange and nuts and candy
Christmas cards strung across the doorway into the kitchen
Making ravioli for Christmas dinner

.....through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow....

...and have yourself A Merry Little Christmas now

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Eat. Drink. Shop.

What more can you ask for. These are the Big Three for me. Good food- Good Wine and Shopping With Friends. My 3rd Annual Santa Baby Open House is tomorrow night from 7:00 - 10:00 PM.

 This year I put James in charge of the food and drink. It was time to delegate.  He came up with some wonderful choices that I can't wait to try:
Roasted Eggplant Spread
Greek Olive Bruschetta
Tzatziki Spread
Pinot Grigio Salami
Rose' Salami
Chianti Salami
Smoked Salmon
Creme Filled Cookies in
Cafe Mocha
and Tiramisu flavors

ART GLASS VASEThree weeks ago I decided I wanted totally new and different merchandise to offer my customers so I did a complete overhaul of the studio and ordered some beautiful items.

I also made my sister Cecelia send me new watercolors- and they are beautiful! I also made myself sit down and create some new work for the Open House. Sometimes I get so busy working on other people's stuff I forget to make my own. 

This year my love affair with pearls has continued. I am using pearls with some really flashy cut crystal glass beads. I love the contrast of the soft a subtle pearls with the sparkle of the glass beads. I have also been playing with quite a bit of turquoise too. 
Necklaces and bracelets mostly. I have been able to work them in between all of the custom earrings I have been making for clients!

 So here's a little preview of what you will find at my Santa Baby Open House. I hope you can join us!



Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Here we are, playing in the studio...

..banging on the pots and pans!

No really- today I decided it was time to do some playing or as my daughter Kelsey would say-

"Mom, I think we need to experiment"
(of course she pronounced it esperiment and was only 5 and it was super cute)

And this is what I did. I have been going through my Pinterest pins and reorganizing some of them because I have so many I can't FIND anything! (I really thought this was just a filing cabinet issue turns out I am chaotically organized-or filing challenged - whatever)

Rit Dye
So one of the pins I tried today was making my own alcohol ink. I ADORE Tim Holtz and all of his wonderful products - but I can't justify spending close to $10 on a three pack of his alcohol inks - each bottle is .5 fl oz.  I want to use them for a project I have my students doing and .5fl oz won't go very far when you have 16+ students using it. Plus I only have three colors because I bought the ink on clearance and got a really good price for it. But I digress- I wanted more ink and more colors. So I used this recipe I found on Brigit's Daily Bytes . I bought 10 bottles of liquid Rit Dye, 91% Isopropyl alcohol and some spill proof plastic containers with snap on lids.  Then I carefully measured the dye and the alcohol into the container, labeled the lid and put it on and shook it.

OK I lied- I only carefully measured the first two. After that I eyeballed dye to alcohol and called it good. But I DID label the lid and put it on and shook it.
alcohol inks make own

Now I have 10 colors of alcohol ink. TEN! And I paid less than buying three packs of Tim's inks plus I can make TONS more ink. I can't wait for my students to get here so we can play with them.

shimmer mist
I was on a roll today so I went back to my Pinterest board and  looked for something else to make- and I found this pin for making my own shimmer mist. I LOVE this stuff too but it's very pricey - it's $4.00 for a .5fl oz spritzer. And the spritzer nozzle clogs halfway through use. very annoying- but I got the upper hand and poured the remaining shimmer mist into an empty spritz bottle I had so no more problem - anyway- I again followed Brigit's recipe and made my own mist. I used Petal Pink Rit Dye and Flamingo Pink Pearl-Ex Powders.  I am very pleased with the results. Brigit suggested putting a small glass bead in the bottom of the bottle so you get better mixing- so I did- and that makes so much sense because the stuff wants to settle on the bottom of the expensive stuff all the time. I am now looking for other recipes for making my own art supplies to use in the studio- especially the stuff we use a lot of- like gel medium and Mod Podge.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Blessings banner

What can you do with some leftover scrapbook papers, stickers and some beeswax?

This fall banner-
fall banner

How did I do that?
I traced a Gothic arch onto my scrapbook papers
Cut them out
cut out two sets of letters- the black letters slightly larger than the yellow ones
rubbed brown colored pencil on the edges of the yellow letters
glued the layers down
added some fall leaf stickers and some orange and yellow glitter flower stickers
dipped into melted beeswax to give it all a softer old look
punched small holes into each corner and threaded it with hemp
lastly I used a lark's head knot to put some fall colored raffia between each letter

fall banner

I have been experimenting with paints and papers-the yellow letters is a pieces of paper that I hand painted before I cut the letters out because I wanted paper with some texture and color variations.

Monday, October 08, 2012

I am an artist

Over the years I have had many high school students spend their day shadowing me. Part of the experience is the interview. The student has to ask me questions so they can write a paper about what I do.

"What made you want to be an artist?"

And I answer the question: All my life I have always been different and animal skullI can't imagine my life as anything but an artist. I am not in it for the money- although it is nice to sell some work to pay some bills. I am an artist because there is this deep need in me to make things- to create. It's a 24/7 thing too. Artists look at things and life differently. You see a piece of paper blowing down the street and think of it as garbage. I stop and watch it move along the sidewalk and wonder what its story is. Like the day I was cutting across this abandoned parking lot behind a warehouse and saw this skull sitting on a trailer hitch. I took a photo of it because it reminded me of Georgia O'Keefe . When I got back into the studio I played in Photoshop with it .... one of these days I am going to print the photo and go in an alter it with my acrylic paints and create something but for now it's just a photo on my computer. 

Suffer for My Art

I hear music and I see colors in my mind's eye and fleeting images. Sometimes I drop everything I am doing just to create a piece based on that music because it moves me so strongly. 

 When I worked on this cello Bach's Cello Suite played in my mind over and over. And then it played on my iTunes over and over until I finished the piece. 
Everywhere I go and see and do is a source of inspiration to me. I see colors, textures, lines and shapes. I want to capture the feeling of walking through fallen leaves on a crisp afternoon or the mellow mournful sound of a cello. I want to celebrate the fact that we are living breathing beings and we are surrounded by a universal energy. I want the viewer to be amused, surprised maybe even taken aback by the images I create. I want to make them stop and think for a few minutes. My name is not Picasso or Rembrandt or Van Gogh. My name does not matter. What matters is that I am an artist. And when someone walks into my studio and stares at something I have created and they say it speaks to them then I know I have done it right because we are speaking the same language.
dancing skeleton

Friday, September 28, 2012

today we shall dance

dancing skeleton
I didn't feel like repairing jewelry or cleaning the studio or taking pictures for Artsonia or filing or trying to uncover the top of my desk. Today I needed to paint. So I did. And this is what happened.

I danced.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Adult Workshops and Classes!

You asked for it and I have a schedule ready for my scrapbook friends and mixed media artists!

Artworks Studio/Scrapper’s Nook

Fall Workshops and Crop Nights

Scrap* Paper* Scissors* CROP!

Take advantage of the creative atmosphere at Artworks Studio and Laura’s artistic expertise as well as sharing ideas among fellow croppers. Paper friendly snacks will be served and you are more than welcome to bring in the beverage of your choice.

Crop Nights!

The studio has the following equipment available for your use during the evening: large format printer, punches, stamps, Crop-a-dile II Big Bite and Cricut Expressions. You are welcome to bring in your own Cricut cartridges to use too. The studio owns the following cartridges: Jasmine, Plantin School Book, Graphically Speaking, Ultimate Creative Series Sampler, A Frightful Affair, Team Spirit and Sports Mania.

Scrapper’s Nook materials purchased during the crop will be 10% off!

Space is limited to 6 people
TIME: 7:00 – 10:30 PM
Fee: $10
Dates: Thursdays
October 11
October 18
November 1
November 15
December 13

Use up your PAPERS!

Offered every other month this afternoon workshop will take you through fun and easy projects that make you use up those scraps of paper you’ve been hoarding! You bring your scrap stash and I will provide the rest.

Saturday October 13th 1:00-4:00PM
Fee: $18

Halloween/Fall Banner

Holiday/Winter Banner
Saturday December 8th 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Fee: $18

Holiday/Winter Banner


Pinned it! Now I’m going to MAKE it!
How many DIY crafty pins on Pinterest have you tried to actually do? Each workshop features a project that I have pinned to my Pinterest boards. So let’s do it! All materials will be provided.

Altered cigar box for the holidays

Altered Box: Transform an ordinary cigar box into work of art keep sake box. How about in a holiday theme to keep those cherished Christmas cards in?
Saturday November 3rd 1:00 – 5:00PM
Fee: $35

The Fine Print: Class & crop reservations are on a first come, first served basis. If necessary a waiting list can be made for each class, and any cancellations will need to be made with a minimum of 48 hours notice before the class session meets. Refunds will be in the form of store credit if cancellation is made prior to the 48-hour period. If the cancellation is made less than 48 hours before the class is to be held, class materials will be distributed to you after the session ends. Crop night fees have a 24-hour cancellation notice and are non-refundable after the 24-hour notice window.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

no picture just words

For years I have been incorporating words into my art. Today, as I was surfing through Pinterest I noticed how many other artists there are out there who also use words in their art.

This got me to thinking- if a picture is worth a thousand words- then why did I find it necessary to use 1001 or more...

I am insecure in my work? Am I trying to over explain? Is it because I want to make sure the viewer "gets it"

This requires some thinking.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


As many of you know I purchased the Scrapper's Nook July 1st and moved it into the studio. It has been a great move for the studio! I have NEW PAPER orders arriving in the next two weeks from all over. I love ordering new merchandise for the studio. So I am sharing my excitement with you! I am giving away the current issues of Somerset Studio and Somerset Apprentice ($25.00 value). These two magazines are available at the studio and are filled with ideas for taking your scrap booking to a new level. Just leave a message and tell me if you have ever read the magazines before. I will randomly choose a winner from the responses by noon tomorrow. (Sept 12,2012)

Friday, September 07, 2012

No Wedding Bell Blues here!

A week ago today a young lady walked into the studio and said-

 " I need your help"

"Tell me what you need"

" I am getting married and I need bridesmaids gifts..."

"How about..." "I don't want jewelry."

Okaaay then- so we proceeded to talk about what she DID want - it needed to be different and personal and really cool - After two hours of conversation and looking at all sorts of stuff we came up with an idea.

"So when is the wedding?'  (thinking I had plenty of time)

"oh yeah- next Saturday- can you get them done by then?"

I hate letting people down so I said yes.  And she was a Happy Bride and started walking out the door then turned around and said ...

"I don't suppose you can make a necklace can you?"
"For you?"

and with a shy smile she said "Yeah- I know what I want but can't find it" then she pulled a picture up on her phone and showed me what she was looking for.

"Can you make me something like this?"

I pulled out strands of beads and started draping them on the mannequin. An hour later she said "That's it! Messy and chunky with a little color!" and she walked out with a bounce.

This is one of  what we came up with for her three bridesmaids - who happen to be her sisters. She had me make collages for them out of vintage magazine pages that reflected each sisters' personality. This one is for the sister who lives in New York and is very much into fashion and jewelry and is in love with her city. The magazine page was from an article on the latest fashions to hit New York from Paris from Delineator Magazine July 1919.

She picked them up this morning with one of her sisters and the look on the Bride and the Sister Bridesmaid faces were priceless.

They loved it! The collages- the necklace. I love my job!

Then there were the shoes. This Bride told her mother I am going to find my shoes first- and then we will look at dresses. And that is what she did. She is getting married June 2013 and she brought me in her shoes because they needed to get "dressed up" a bit. 

A row a Swarkovski crystals and this Bride is waltzing out the door.....LOVE my job!

This Bride was looking for something for her hair and she had pretty good ideas of what she wanted. So I asked if she could sit in the studio and we could design something together right then and there. So I made it on the spot and she had lots of input as I worked on it. It turned out beautiful. And she was another Happy Bride. 

Yeah- it's a great gig!

Friday, July 27, 2012


Everything is better when you put "palooza" behind it!

Last post was about the "Liquid Paper Ladies Night" and you can read about that here.

Today I had a brilliant idea and I am calling it


What does that mean?

  • You can come in and work with some of the more expensive "art" papers before you purchase any to see if you like them. 
  • You can try new products or some of the products you've seen in the supply stores that look really cool but WHAT do you DO with them?
  • You can peruse the new magazines hot off the press from Stampington and Company like

Sound like fun? Let me know what kinds of things you'd like to try at Paper-Palooza!

Friday, July 20, 2012

when we last left our hero....

she was surrounded by stacks and stacks of paper and stickers and all sorts of scrap booking chaos.

I am happy to report that everything- well almost everything there's still that one little pile that I haven't figured out what to do with yet- has been organized and displayed. Customers are following the paper trail from the old location to the new one.

And we head to the next chapter....

Will I be offering classes and workshops for adults?

I am working on some ideas even as I type.

The first thing I thought of was hosting a scrap night in the studio- you know bring your projects and sit in the company of other like minded people and work on those books. Ok- that's a start. What if I tell them I will provide some snacks to munch on while they work? Sounds good......... and what about some wine?

How does this sound- Liquid Paper Ladies Night- from 7:00PM until 10:00PM? Ladies can have a glass of wine, snacks and scrap with friends in the studio. I'll be on hand for creative input and problem solving plus I have quite the stash of rubber stamps from the Tim Holtz collection as well as tons of bits and pieces of not your average scrapbook paper - handmade papers from India, Nepal, Italy and Japan that I can share.  Due to the size of my class room and knowing that scrappers need room to spread out the evening will have to be limited to 5 people. Not to worry- I am pretty sure I will do this at least once a month if not twice a month.

Another idea I have been working on for the past 6 months is an art retreat. My sister Cecelia and my friend Shari and I have done this the past two years over president's weekend. We do a wonderful and intensive total immersion into collage and mixed media and gelatin printing and image transfer. Last year I produced two wonderful canvas pieces and a cello.  I have blogged about the retreat before and posted albums on my facebook page and each year I get more people asking how they can be a a part of this retreat. The retreat would start at 7PM on Thursday evening. then again at 6PM on Friday evening and then all day Saturday like 10 AM until 5PM. Still working out the details....I'll get back to you on this one. I am always open to suggestions and ideas.

What about an evening of creative doodling. Yes I said doodling. Do you have any idea how important doodling is? It's like exercises for the right side of your brain so you can turn on the creative side of you. Check out the Zentangle website. Amazing stuff!

Art journals? Hand bound books? Gelatin printing? Image transfer? Hand colored images on old sheet music or dictionary pages? goodness the ideas are swirling around in my head so fast it makes me dizzy!

Altered Altoids Tins?

Altered books?

Next Friday morning I am hosting 7 ladies in the studio and we are going to make Artist Trading Cards. I am so looking forward to sharing this mini-collage with them. I have making these for years and love doing them! I give them away to people all the time. I use old photographs and burned out matchbooks and words cut form books and wax and...well pretty much anything I have in the studio as long as it fits on a 2.5 x 3.5 card. 

Artworks Studio's gonna be BIG!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

paper is my Passion!

I have been away from my keyboard the past couple of months. I was in a play at History Boy Theater and then I was directing the Youth Theatre production of Harry Potter and the Obnoxious Voice and then I started my summer classes and I teach all day and it was pretty insane.

I don't think I was home on a weekend from the first weekend in May until just this past weekend.

So if that wasn't enough going on as of June 30th I became the owner of the Scrapper's Nook. It's a scrap booking supply store.I have always had a love affair with paper. I have some sheets of fine art paper I bought in Chicago over 10 years ago.  I plan on selling scrap book supplies just like Cathie did but I also plan on taking it in a new direction. I spent the past 10 days combining her inventory in with mine. Which required pretty much taking everything off the walls and starting from scratch. We hung pegboard on the north wall and slat board on the south wall. Dusted and cleaned every surface and weeded out inventory that had been around for quite awhile.

Did i mention that this was supposed to be my week off and I was supposed to spend it at the cabin at Black Hawk Lake. yeah- that didn't happen. OK I am really not that upset about it since the temps were in the upper 90's all week with high humidity and did I mention there is central AC at home and NOT at the cabin?  We couldn't even take the boat out because the lake on our side is too I guess if i was going to be indoors I might  as well spend it remodeling the studio right?

Messy. Messy. Messy......

I have been spending hours on the net searching for just the right papers to stock. I don't scrap. I never have. I do, however, use lots of scrap elements in my artwork. Brads, and eyelets, stamps and other embellishments. I will be stocking unique art papers- LIKE THIS- I love Washi paper.

I am also working on becoming a retailer of my favorite magazine- Cloth, Paper, Scissors if you have never picked up a copy you should. It is full of wonderful inspirations for mixed media artists.

This canvas was created during our 2nd Art Retreat and it
has 8 layers on it before I declared it finished.

 I have been working in mixed media for the past several years and have wanted to share my passion for it with other people. The past two years I have hosted a private Art Retreat for my sister and my friend Shari. We have so much fun making messes and creating papers using Citra Solv and gelatin plates and transferring images from old magazines onto canvas....and so many of my facebook friends want to know how they can get invited too-

 So I am going to finally offer some workshops for adults. This fall there will be some scrap nights and some workshops on how to create your own one of a kind background papers or accent papers for scrapping. I also plan to introduce some basic easy hand bound book making classes as well as taking the - I can't draw a straight line with a ruler- out of the equation art journal sessions. I hope you can stop in and see what's new and maybe take a class or two.

Spending time being creative is time well spent!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Classes June 4 -June 8

Kinder Artists (ages 3-5)  will be painting dandelions. What a great way to start off the summer. There is still room in all sessions of this class which meets:
Ages 3-4
 Monday June 4th  9:30 AM 
Tuesday June 5th  9:30AM
Ages 4-5
Monday June 4th  10:30AM
Tuesday June 5th 10:30 AM
FEE: $7

There is still room in ALL of these classes for your creative child!

Passport to Art (Grades 3-4) Get your passports ready and travel the world through art. Each week we will visit a different country and learn about the culture through arts and crafts. Each student will receive a complimentary passport at the end of class stamped with each country visited.   First stop- CHINA! and there is still room to travel with us.
Mondays 12:30PM – 1:30PM
June 4th – June 25th 
FEE: $54

Angry Birds ROCK! (Grades 3-4)
Everyone needs an angry bird to call their own. We will painting a feilf rock to look like your favorite angry bird.
Monday June 4th 1:30-3:00
FEE: $22

Ultimate Tree House (Architecture) Have you ever thought about the tree house you would build if you could dream big? In this class you can build your ultimate tree house on a small scale. Think in terms of dollhouse sized staircases and rope swings fit for a fairy. These are the requirements: your house has at least three different levels and each level needs to be accessible – no magically jumping from level to level. One level needs a roof and three sides. Furniture and accessories that you build your self are optional and encouraged.

Grades 5-8 Tuesdays June 5– 26 1:00 PM – 3:00PM
FEE: $85

Mosaic Art Mosaic art goes as far back as 400 B.C. to ancient Greece where geometric patterns and scenes of people and animals were depicted by placing small pieces of different colour materials to create a picture. . You will learn how to create a 12” x 12” wall mosaic using Italian glass tiles and fine grout.

Session1: Grades 5-8 Wednesdays June 6-20 1:00 PM – 3:00PM
FEE: $75

Rocket Ships You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to create this fantastic rocket ship but you do have to be creative with paper tubes, tape, paint and glue.

Grades 4-6 Thursday June 7 2:00-3:30PM
FEE: $22

Flower Wreath This wreath is made entirely out of egg cartons- you’d never know unless I told you. It’s beautiful!
June 8
Session 1: Grades 3-4 1:00-2:30PM
Session2: grades 5-6 3:00-4:30PM
FEE: $22