Start Your Engines 2014

The Holiday shopping season has now officially begun. Sunday’s paper was filled with flyers displaying holiday decorations and gift suggestions for everyone who might be on your “good girl/good boy” list. It seemed fitting too since the thermometer dropped to below freezing for the first time, the plants in the garden gave up the ghost and my good friend loaded up the car and headed south for the winter.

I was at the American Legion Holiday Craft Show over the weekend and it was noisy, exciting and everyone seemed super-charged. It’s really fun to see people excited about your wares. All those hours working at home, alone at the sewing machine give way to a totally opposite environment of chatter, laughter and a camaraderie between vendors that is like nothing else. This show was especially fun since it was right in my own neighborhood. My booth was a gathering place for friends from my yoga class, painting class, neighborhood, 4H club (from 20 years ago!!!), workplace (from 5 years ago) and some people who looked really really familiar who I couldn’t quite place. I even met some new people who instantly seemed like old friends.

I never leave these shows without rewarding myself with a few small pleasures. I picked up a couple of outstanding items – a beautiful photograph by Nikol Black Photography. Nikol has lived in Europe and her photographs have a way of taking you there too. Weathered doorways, ancient buildings, foggy streets……they all are beautifully done. I am so glad to have one sitting on my desk where I can keep my eye on it every day.

I have a new piece of jewelry too! Cindy Arthur from Sentimental Memories creates one-of-a-kind pieces that are infused with bits and pieces of special occasions. My new necklace has watch gears and pieces suspended in resin over a type background. She can preserve flowers from bouquets or other meaningful material too. What a wonderful gift these would make for someone special.

I sold a ton of purses – mostly wool cross body purses that look like their warmth might help you get through the coming cold weather. This year I have added smaller pieces too. I have felted wristlets, change purses and “little uglies”. Little uglies are my most fun project. They can hold cash, gift cards, movie tickets, jewelry and tons of other little items. How much more fun would it be to get a gift card in a little ugly than in a store envelope. Others must agree. I sold a lot of them!!!

I have to get back to sewing to replenish my stock. I have a fundraiser brunch show November 15 (presale tickets only) and I get to go back to Hope Lutheran for Holidays @ Hope later that same day from 4 till 9 – 500 Hickory Street in Dayton. Two weeks later will be the Handmade Holiday show at the Old Yellow Cab building in Dayton. That will be a 2 day-er – December 5 and 6. Come see and the Little Uglies! You might just have to take one home :D
Little UgliesWinter woolies

The Takeaway

My head is still reeling from last weekend’s show at Hope Lutheran Church in South Park.  It was a memorable experience for many reasons.  About a dozen vendors filled the century old church to sell their wares.   A wall of stained glass windows provided a stunning backdrop for our booth.  The smell of old wood and history greeted each person as they entered the building.

Hope Lutheran is a small congregation now.  Most of their members are gone or housebound.  Around 20 worshipers continue to show up each Sunday.  Most of them wandered in to see the show on Saturday, proudly displaying tee shirts that announced their membership in the small church.  They were all eager to tell their story – a tale of generations that have been attending since the church was built.  This Saturday the church was full of energy and excitement.

Let’s face it – most of the artists at these shows are young enough to be my children.  They are full of talent, energy, hope and courage.  Maybe that’s why it is so exciting for me to be involved.  Being in this environment is infectious and inspiring.  Looking at their creations, listening to their stories and getting to know them makes the whole experience rich and rewarding – more than just a venue to sell products.

Lisa talked about having the courage to step away from her 9 to 5 job and start her own business.  Sue told us that her children’s clothing was inspired by her granddaughter (and favorite model) Olivia. Cathy (at her first show)  made us smile with her pet art.  There were photographers, makers of fairy gardens, a children’s author, artists, potters, printers and more.  Rachel and Rich shared not only their jewelry but their dream of turning the church into an art and community center.

I am happy to report that the art community in Dayton Ohio is flourishing and exciting and full of energy. It was in the air on Saturday and it has been with me all week. I brought home a few posters from Lisa Grass Schultz -( to inspire me and remind me of everything that is waiting for me next time.


Summer In The City

We finally made it through that brutal winter!  Spring is in full swing now – lots of light, color and flat out fun!

I didn’t plan on making a line of summer purses – it just “happened”.  I made a playful purse for myself, someone saw it and wanted one, someone saw hers and ordered one – and kaboom!  I have a new line!  I put away the wools and brought out the patterns.  The tweeds and herringbones are replaced with polka dots and florals.  They are light and happy and really fun to make! They are even fun to carry – they make me feel like I am going to a Summer party!

Sum, sum, summertime
Sum, sum, summertime

I can’t wait to take all my purses to a  show that sounds like it is going to be lots of fun.  The Hope Art Center located in the historic South Park district just outside downtown Dayton is having a show June 21 – a perfect way to kick off the Summer.  There will be food, entertainment and, of course, crafts.  The building, which was an old neighborhood church, now houses the arts – ceramics, screen printing and classes have a new home in this beautiful building.  Shopping, touring, stopping for a cup of coffee – it sounds like a perfect way to start the summer.  Hope to see you there!

               Summer in the City

               Hope Art Center

               500 Hickory Street

           Dayton, Ohio

               Saturday, June 21

               10 am till 4 pm




I Believe I Can Fly

In 1978 my mother went into the hospital for a biopsy and woke up with a radical mastectomy.  She recovered physically but struggled with the emotional aftermath for the rest of her life.  Our family is not a stranger to cancer.  I can name 10 members of my immediate family that have faced the same diagnosis during their lifetime.

I wish I could have introduced my mom to the Noble Circle Project.  It is an organization of women who have been diagnosed with cancer at some time in their life – a community of women THRIVING beyond cancer.  My mom would have loved having someone with the same experience to talk to – to support her – to give her a helping hand.

I am so happy to be participating as a vendor at the Noble Circle’s annual fundraiser.  I Believe I Can Fly is the name of this year’s annual luncheon and fashion show being held this weekend (February 22) at Sinclair Ponitz Center – building 12 at 444 West Third Street in downtown Dayton.  Doors open at 10:30, the luncheon begins at noon.  The Boutique will include 27  vendors.  The proceeds from the sale and show are used to fund participation, programming and fellowship for the members.    You can find more information about the event at

I’ll be selling my purses, bags and journals – the projects that kept me busy this snowy winter.  Come down and join in.  You can enjoy the shopping, the fun and the fellowship while you are offering “a helping hand” of your own.

Noble Collage




Noble Fold

Light Up My Life

We have had over 40 inches of snow this winter……so far.  There is more on the way this weekend.  We have started the day with temperatures below zero more than 10 times.  It’s not our usual winter – thank goodness!  I keep the heat in our home a little lower during the day.  I keep the blinds closed in the rooms that are used less often.  It’s cold.  It’s dark.  It’s lasting forever!

It is a good thing to look for bright spots in a long, brutal winter like this.  There are plenty if you pay attention.  Even though it is -5 right now, the sun is coming up and shining brightly.  The snow that has piled up sparkles like it has been dusted with glitter by Martha Stewart.  It streams into my workroom window and makes it warm and bright.  I am cozy and fully aware that I am lucky to have a comfortable, safe home – and that, when it is sleeting or treacherous outside, I don’t have to go anywhere if I don’t want to.

I can keep my eye on the neighborhood from here.  On a blanket of white, it is easy to spot any new “visitors” that happen by.



Sunday morning brought this pileated woodpecker to my sister’s feeder – a giant in our neighborhood as far as birds go!  Along with him,  a few cardinals decorated the trees  looking for something (anything) to eat.



Chickadees, doves, sparrows, juncos, hawks, squirrels, rabbits – they are busy scavenging for food.  Any berry, seed or nut will do.

Inside has it’s joys too.  My orchid has brightened up each day with it’s amazing display of new blooms.  This is the first time I have been able to get an orchid to re-bloom  so I feel like I had something to do with this incredible specimen.



Dinner with friends, projects with “the kids”, UD basketball, my yoga friends, my painting class friends, special projects – they all warm up the winter.  Thank goodness for these bright spots in this cold, frozen season.

A Year-long Journey

Do you journal?  June 5, 2012 I took the plunge and made the first entry in a beautiful blank journal I gave myself as a birthday present.  I had no idea how I would fill an entire book with my unexceptional adventures.  I only knew that I would not limit myself to making it specific in any way.  Whatever came my way – whatever filled my days – that would be the subject of the pages.  As I leaf through the book today, I realize that this book documents a journey – a year in my life that surprises even me.

Each day stands alone.  Some days represent specific events – a concert, a purchase, a vacation, a recap of a favorite book, or a project – each step photographed and saved till needed again.  The book as a whole reveals a journey.  The beginning pages are full of text – of clippings and found items pasted to the pages.   By August, the tone changes – effected by the painting class I started that month.  Now drawings and sketches are more common.   Each painting project resides on a page – a visual story that shows that I learned a lot at each class.

Leafing through the pages, the seasons change – Summer flowers, trips and adventures give way to autumn leaves, pumpkins and recipes of heartier fare.  Winter pages are colorful and playful – just like Christmas.  After Christmas, each additional minute of daylight is recorded till Spring arrives and garden plans and photos of early blooms cover the pages.

I haven’t kept a journal for a few months now.  Looking over this book inspires me to start again.  Do you think your life is mundane?  Do you struggle to see progress?  Each day may not be monumental or exciting but, day after day, page after page, your life, when viewed in a journal may surprise even you.

My new project – journals (of course)


The Winter King Hosts a Feast

We used to look forward to seeing the first robin each spring.  We thought it was a sign that Winter was almost over and Spring would arrive soon.  We would announce the sighting as if something magical had happened.  After all, if there are robins, there must be nests to build and worms to eat – Spring was on it’s way!

I noticed a robin outside our window yesterday.  I know Spring is weeks away and, since the wind chill last week was -14, I know there are no worms to be found.  I thought that the poor robin must have gotten “stuck” in Ohio and all his friends had left him and headed south till Mother Nature gives them the nod to return.  What would he find to eat with 6 inches of snow covering everything and the ground frozen solid?  As I walked to the window I was surprised to see DOZENS of robins feasting on the red berries on the Winter King Hawthorn.  It was a feeding frenzy – a winter feast shared between a “flock” of hearty, hungry birds.  I have never seen more than two or three robins at a time.  To see 50 or more together  was a strange sight.



The tree was stripped within an hour or two and the birds were gone along with the fruit. Even the snow beneath the tree was perfectly clean. I’ll miss the way the red berries stood out against the blue sky or the snowy branches – the way they “lit up” the winter landscape.  That’s OK.  I feel good that the birds found a meal in the middle of winter and that they were kind enough to share with all their needy friends.

I see the hawthorn differently now.  Not only does it look beautiful all year long, now, when I look at it, I will remember how it gave a helping hand to make our world a richer, more beautiful place.