Tuesday, December 26, 2017


All of the times she visited, she had never been up to the top floor. The door was always shut and a barrier placed in front which usually meant it was off limits to lookers...

On her last trip an older woman was running the shop, someone she had never seen before. She never left town on her visits before stopping at her favorite oddity shop that she stumbled across quite by accident. It seems that the owner had taken ill and the shop was being watched by her elderly mother who was just as pleasant and friendly as her daughter. There was a bathroom upstairs on the second floor and from there you could see a short flight of stairs that led to the top floor with a door at the end of the short hallway that was always cracked with a chair in front of it as a way of saying "off limits". After a brief chat with the shop keeper and a long look around mostly waiting for the rain to stop and picking up a few items, she made her way upstairs to the bathroom. The elderly woman offered her a look in the room upstairs making to sure to mention that there wasn't much of anything up there except a dusty storage room with items that were broken, or in need of repair. She apparently was unaware that her daughter was very protective of that room and never let anyone up there mostly due to the room being in disarray and a place for overflow. Based on the quirky items she purchased that day and the fact that it was still pouring outside, she thought it was a nice gesture of the shop keeper, who also didn't mind her company on that quiet day. She tried not to show her excitement as she had always wanted to venture into that room just from the peeks of the cracked door, and probably more so that it was off limits. She could always see just enough that she knew it was a catch all room and a place that boxes were stored and probably not looked at again for sometime. As she made her way from the bathroom to the top floor, the giving of the wooden stairs and the creaking of each step brought back old memories of going to play in her grandmother's attic. Upon entering the room, it was an odd shape and shared an unused half bath that was also filled with boxes and random items, mostly things that were not presentable for sale and most likely were broken or needed repair. She spend a longer time than she normally would looking through old magazines and musty books and linens she found in an old vintage wallpaper crate. It was difficult to see as it was cloudy outside and the light was not good from the lamp in the corner. After awhile she took it as a sign that is was time to go when the sun's rays came shinning through the lace curtains of the two small windows and the rain had stopped. Just as she was moving boxes back where she found them, she saw it.... in the corner on the floor, hidden behind a bag of vintage clothes. It was the beautiful carving that caught her eye.

 Unsure of what it was, she already knew that it was something special. As she pulled it out and dusted it off, she saw writing, the kind of script from an antique fountain pen.

 It was laying flat open much like a writing desk, not the kind that a school child would use, but because of it's simple and ornate beauty , more the kind that a writer or an artist would have made and carried with them on their travels. 

As she gently picked it up to investigate the mystery of her extraordinary find, she gasped when she realized it folded up into a beautiful box. It appeared very old and something that was very loved. There were other random items with it and she knew right away that no amount of time can change the heart. . .  . this was a Dream Box.

All the above is true. It was just an ordinary afternoon, but the time spent in the top room felt comfortable and familiar. The shop keeper or her daughter did not know of it's origin, and did not even recall having it. She thought it must have been brought in with other items that were picked up and stored and apparently had been in the corner of that room for a long time. She was not even aware that it folded up into a box. She was more than happy to sell me the items I found along with the box. You could tell she had done this for many years and the excitement for her had been dimmed by years of collecting and probably having more than she needed. She was more about the sale and chatting with me over the coffee she offered than anything that I discovered or was buying. She wasn't interested in researching the box or it's value and she priced it at a cost that made us both happy. The memory of that day still fondly lingers with me and this box is probably one of my most sweetest finds. It was obviously handmade with love and could have been used by a writer or an artist. . .  but most definitely, a Dreamer.

Description and Box Dimensions:

This is what I think would be called an Antique Portable Writing Desk or Artist Desk. I did some research and I found a few on line but none with the character that this box has. I discovered and came to the conclusion that a box like this one is rare and hard to find. I have yet to see or find any that appear to be as old as this one that still contain some  original writing or have the beautiful handmade carvings inside. You only have to touch and feel it to know that someone spent a lot of time filling this box with dreams.

This is a gorgeous piece and I am happy to share it with you. If you are interested in purchasing it, you can find it listed in my Etsy Shop. A perfectly wonderful gift for a collector of antiques, a writer, an artist  or those like me who just love to dream.

Size: 14 3/4 inches long
8 1/2 inches deep
6 1/2 inches tall
unfolded - opened as desk, 17 inches across from top to bottom.

Wood: unknown, handmade dove tailed corners
Box closes and opens with ease. Key fits but lock does not work, may need cleaned or worked with.

Items included with box: 
One vintage cabinet card
One vintage postcard
handmade welded heart
Antique skeleton key on vintage ribbon
glass piece, shell, handmade bird nest (added) 
feather, paper, vintage/antique watercolor paint tin - Kroma Water Colors from the American Crayon Company,
Vintage lace and glass charm, ribbon, handmade blank art journal with 4 signatures each with 6 pages.
The top of box was hand painted and altered by me.

"As I look out at all of you gathered here, I want to say that I don't see a room full of Parisians in top hats and diamonds and silk dresses. I don't see bankers and housewives and store clerks. No. I address you all tonight as you truly are:
wizards, mermaids, travelers, adventurers, and magicians.
You are truly the dreamers."
Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Dream on....


Monday, December 4, 2017


I've never been good at giving directions, at least not in the normal sense. I don't notice street signs as much as I do the color of houses or the shape of buildings. Sometimes I start on my way and then I veer to another path if I see something interesting that peaks my curiosity. The same thing happens with my art. I can begin with precise directions and before you know it, I am wandering off, paving my own path. But I think that's how all art should be, learning to pave your own path and listening to your heart's direction.

This month's post for Retro Café Art Gallery started with an Antique China Doll ATC Shrine Kit from Retro. Once assembled, this little Shrine makes a wonderful place for housing some of your favorite Art Trading Cards. One of my favorite things is having a really cute space for my business cards or those business cards of favorite shops I am always hunting for. It didn't take long into the process to find myself "wandering". Hence, I love the quote: "All who wander are not  lost",  perhaps they are just following their heart's direction.

If I am painting and not using paper, I always start by giving all the parts a nice layer of gesso.

While the gesso is drying, I am thinking along the lines of what embellishments or cutouts I might use. As you can see by this photo and the end result of  my piece, I already switched direction and did not use the shells.

Next, paint one layer of ivory acrylic paint on the box or shrine body. Once dry, glue the shrine box together. Once that is dry, give a second layer of ivory paint to the box after assembled which will fill in any cracks and make everything extra sturdy. The decorative embellishment that goes on top is optional but I decided to use it because I was already thinking that I could loop some wire through the holes.
Next, I added doors to the front, which are also optional. Using washi tape, I lined them up and taped them to the sides, then I painted over the tape with a layer of gesso and acrylic paint.
 To the front doors, I decided to add these adorable mini door knobs. I didn't care for the bright gold so I gave them a coating of Golden Van Dyke Brown acrylic paint.
On the inside, I cut and added the words from Tim Holtz "Small Talk" which says:

 "What seems ordinary is often extraordinary, listen to your heart it will show you the way." 

Then I added some grungy paint and used a black pen to line and circle around the words.
 On the back side, I used a stamp on paper first and glued it on. Then I added Tim Holtz Alpha Cubes for feet which gave the Shrine a little more height. 
To the sides, I added some paper embellishments that I had in my stash. Next, I painted two skeleton key cut outs and then rubbed on Inka Gold (Copper) to give them that vintage appearance. I attached them with annealed wire through the holes on the top of the shrine.
 I attached my head piece last and added a Fish Paper Cut because it reminded me of what a sweet friend and mentor once told me, "Be like the fish that swims up stream, go your own direction."
 To the top of her head I added a large Moth Paper Cut to a thicker backing and glued it to her forehead as a reminder that not a day goes by that I am not in "The Presence of Wonder".


Acrylic Paint 
Rubber Word Stamp
Artist papers


I love the Santos Doll Kits at Retro Cafe Art Gallery, all sizes of them. Working really small is generally out of my comfort zone so I tend to put those things aside until the moment finds me. At Christmas time I love to decorate my tree with handmade ornaments and ornaments that represent the things I love, so I thought this was a perfect time to put this doll together and make her an ornament for my tree.
She is very basic and simple to put together. You position her arms the way you want them and then glue them on. With a variety of mini paper cut faces at Retro, you have a lot to choose from for her face,
the same for wings.
 I also used Tim Holtz Idea-ology Small Talk Words in white and they fit the all the little cage slats perfectly. Then I just distressed the edges of them.

The little wooden embellishment I used for wings, I found in a package in the wood section at Hobby Lobby.I pick up embellishments wherever I go. The little brass Christmas Tree and trinkets hanging from her arm were tied on a package I received from a sweet artist friend, Diana Darden. There are a lot of ways to personalize this mini Santos Doll. 
Lastly, I gave some gold to the edges of the doll's body, and added wire to her wings for hanging. 

Now I have a a memorable easy to make Mini Santos Doll Ornament and I can't wait to get it on my tree!
Acrylic Gold and Ivory Paint
Annealed Wire
Wood wings-
Lots of Wing Options at Retro. 
Just put wings in the search box. 

and May your Tree be full of SPARKLES!

Friday, November 17, 2017



Driving a different direction to work
Drink a different tea or drink your coffee black
Speak to someone you don't know
Part your hair on the other side
Send someone a Love note
Wear two different colored socks
Do an art project with a medium that scares you
Wear something bold and gaudy
Step out of your comfort zone
Try juggling...and then pat yourself on the back for the things you CAN do
Wear red lipstick
Find a bag (preferably a paper one with handles), go on a walk and fill it
with treasures ~*
Discover things about yourself that you didn't know

"The idea is to turn even familiar actions into everyday celebrations, to make vivid the common, to separate every moment from the next, as experimental films do, so that spontaneity is allowed to break the dead hand of habit". ~Samuel A. Eisenstein

Some days you just want to put on your favorite tunes and dance wildly ~ or just open the windows, let the sun shine in and quietly sip tea....
.....today I will dance wildly*

Keep a photo on your laptop or phone that makes you smile when you  open it up or maybe a crazy selfie that makes you laugh! Always make time for yourself no matter what it is that makes you happy and don't forget to laugh.

Just find a photo of someone you admire
Make a thought bubble with words of encouragement and glue it on or just add words to the picture.
 Hang it in a prominent place, put it on the fridge or somewhere you see it everyday and know that you are Loved no matter what happens.

Start everyday with a "Hello Beautiful" compliment in the mirror before you forge out into the world and end everyday with "How did I get so Lucky"!

Everyday, I take it all in, it fills me up! Every day  is a blank new canvas and you are the artist.
Today I am Celebrating all my Beautiful friends and all their amazing unique qualities that they bring to my world inspiring me to walk through new doors, saying yes to new adventures and to really see and Celebrate the person who looks back at me in the mirror everyday!
If you are here, today I Celebrate You! 
How did I get so Lucky!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Going junking is one of my favorite things to do. I don't start out looking for anything. I am always just on the hunt for interesting items that inspire me. Most of the time I have no idea what I will do with them and sometimes I see an item and I know exactly what I will do with it. That was case with this vintage bird cage. When I saw it, I couldn't pass it up. It was weathered, obviously old and very strange in the fact that for a bird cage it had no door. The bottom has a wooden latch that opens on a hinge for cleaning out I imagine, but all the same, I knew I would create something with it. With some cleaning up, sanding, repainting, and re-working other items in my magic boxes, I think this Guardian Angel turned out just like I imagined. 

She is the Guardian of the Gentle. She watches over those who do not fend well for themselves and protects them from harm and evil.

I love creating with intention and setting out to do planned projects always excite me, but gathering supplies and letting my muse flow free is such a rewarding experience, not knowing the direction or where the journey will take me.

 If you are like me and have "magic boxes" full of things that fascinate you, I hope you will take time for yourself to explore the possibilities and see where your muse takes you!

I also found this wire cage, so I rusted it up and added some "Bee's" to it, then I couldn't resist inserting a little handmade bird nest. It goes along nicely with my Guardian Angel.

 You can find both of these items in my Etsy Shop now with a BIG SALE of 50% off all items! WHOOHOO! I am making room for a studio remodel.
 Thanks for popping in, leave me a comment, even just to say Hi, I was here! :)  Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! I will be back after Turkey and a nice long nap on the couch!