Happy New Year! Wishing all the magic and love of the new year comes your way! Hope to see you all in the coming months =-)


Sources Of Inspiration

 When the snow flies and the sun sets much too early, even I have a hard time remembering the many colors leaves can be. I'm sure I could find a few people who can recall walking with me in the Fall, and wondering why I would suddenly stop short and lunge for the ground! Did I trip? Was I having a seizure? No, I would spot a beautifully colored leaf and would grab it for later reference! Unfortunately, leaf colors don't keep past a day or two. BUT, (Reason number 87 as to why I love digital cameras...!) with my camera, I can freeze the diverse leaf colors in time and refer to them whenever I want!

I discovered most of these leaves last weekend, when the wind was gusting to 50 miles an hour and I had a yard full of leaves from trees that were probably miles away - that's why most of these are under plastic. I wanted to take the pics in the daylight, when the colors would be truer, but they were trying to take off!

The most colorful and diverse tree in my yard has to be this Japanese Maple - I was disappointed when I first bought it - it had been mismarked and the leaves turned out a plain green in the summer and I wanted a red one. But once it matured, I discovered that its Fall color was breathtaking! The five leaves below all came from this one tree.

The two oval leaves are from a "Burning Bush " (Euonymus). Proof that I can paint a leaf PINK and it will still be realistic!

The underside of a waterlily pad...

Even a shot of my red Castor Bean...

And.... a couple of "my" leaves inspired by my Autumn finds!


Last Show 2011~ Harrison Rally Day

...A cool, cloudy mid September morning in a small NW Ohio community. This was fun, because it is a downtown street festival and it has a mix of the activities a lot of people think of when they hear "street festival" in the Midwest. 

One being: historical celebrations :
This event is named for a rally held in Perrysburg in the 1800s for William Henry Harrison. If you've heard of "Tippecanoe and Tyler too", it was the Whig party's campaign song based on General Harrison's exploits at the Battle of Tippecanoe fought in 1811 against Chief Tecumseh, and his vice presidential running mate, John Tyler. Mr. Tyler, the 10th president, succeeded Mr. Harrison on April 4, 1841, a month after Mr. Harrison's inauguration. (This last bit of info was totally copied from another website: I generally run as far away from History as I can as a rule...)

Quite a large "small" Festival, 240 booth/tents were set up along the streets of Perrysburg,Ohio.

...Here's mine!
And it wouldn't be a Midwest street fair without a parade!
 Of course, the local high school's marching band, too...
Always displayed proudly at my booth!
And we all love our classic cars! My Dad actually had a black '57 Chevy that I still remember riding in! He sold it when I was 10 :-(...
Then the sun came out and totally transformed the day (Although, as you can see, our booth was WAY too close to the railroad tracks!) 
The local fire department showing off for the kids...
I HAD to get a picture of THIS guy! I didn't even ask to take his picture - I figure that if one walks around with two dogs in doggie harnesses hanging on him , he should expect it! Don't think anyone would have believed me anyway if I hadn't provided proof!
 My Hibiscus Blossom display
And the Faerie Doors! TWO more are now out in the world attracting our tiny friends =-)
I'm so thrilled with digital cameras, because I always take such important and well thought out photos, like the sun glinting off my FunGi....
I always like to take an "artist's eye" shot from inside the booth! Good parting shot, too. Later!



Quick update ~ tomorrow I will be participating in my favorite art festival ~ Art On The Mall at The University of Toledo. Yes, it's going to be 90 degrees, but hey, I only wished for no rain, so I can't complain :-)
Ginkgo Pendant

Hope to see you there (-=


I was going thru a lot of angst this past Winter ~ did I even WANT to continue this leaf casting business? I have made seven or eight HUNDRED pieces in the past six years, and the shows are a lot of physical work for both hubby and I! This is the longest I have ever continued along one path without faltering or giving up, and I do love it, but of course there's always a lot of re~thinking to do during the cold, dark months.

BUT, after my first event this season, I started to remember why I wanted to do this in the first place!

 Besides being surrounded by beautiful plants at the local Farmer's Market, I get to see old friends that stop by, and always make a couple of NEW acquaintances. And the most important part ~ I love to see repeat customers and collectors of my work, and also it's really awesome to cultivate a bunch of NEW fans!
 Oooo! Look at all those Heucheras! I have most of them, but there's a couple...

...And for those of you who have the idea that I'm a baby hater, I had to grab a pic of my newest acquaintance, and his Mom, who is another artisan I'm buddies with on the art/craft show circuit.
I mean, how freakin' cute is this?! But then, I fall for all four month olds in dark shades!

 It wasn't crazy busy, so I had time to check out the various nurseries that were set up there.
 AND, on Saturday, an extremely nice couple purchased my largest Bird of Paradise leaf for a table centerpiece, THEN came back on Sunday and bought the Butterbur, which was my second largest leaf! Bazzinga!
They were really happy with their castings, which I'm always happy about ~ my "babies"found a good home!
Bye, Bye, Birdie! :-D


*~*~*~*Faerie Lore II*~*~*~*

The term Faerie is derived from "Fé erie", meaning the enchantment of the Fées, while Fé is derived from Fay, which is itself derived from Fatae, or the Fates. The term originally applied to supernatural women who directed the lives of men and attended births. Now it has come to mean any supernatural creature tied to the earth, except monsters and ghosts.

In Ireland, the Faeries are called the Aes Sídhe (singular Aes Sídh). Sídhe happens to be the name for the earthen mounds and hills that dot the Irish landscape. Irish mythology, legendry, and folklore claim the Faeries live under these mounds, so the term "sídhe" has come to mean Faerie in general, but it more properly refers to the palaces, courts, halls, and residences of the Faeries. However they are known by a wide variety of euphemisms, including "the Fair Folk", "the Good Neighbors", "the Little Folk", "the Little Darlings", and "the People of Peace". This is done for two reasons. The first is to avoid attracting their attention and the second is to avoid insulting them.


*~*~*~* Faerie Lore *~*~*~*

Fairy peoples are thought to have descended from the race of Elves. Elves are an ancient race of magical, slender creatures with pointed ears thought to be extinct. Unlike fairies, they lack the ability to fly, which may have made the fairies a more adaptable race. Elves were once very closely associated with the land and with nature and fairies took over many of their roles in this tradition.

Fairies are now air, water, fire and tree spirits. These are also the four points that make up a pagan pentagram (air, water, fire and earth) and the fifth point is spirit, which the fairies incarnate represent.


Transforming Nature To Art

What it takes to complete a cast leaf pendant and necklace...

Sometimes I'm asked, "How long did this take you to make?" or, not as pleasantly, "Why do these necklaces cost so much?" Since a lot of people just do not realize the time and labor it takes to create craft or art pieces, I decided to add up the time it takes to make just one of my pendants (because, actually, I want to know, too!)
(The numbers in parentheses represent the approximate time for each phase).

First, I have to select a leaf. Do I just run out to the garden and cut a leaf off a plant? No. The leaf has to be without rips, bends, bites, or blemishes, it has to be pleasingly uniform and the right size, and if I'm making earrings they also have to match! THAT alone is a toughie! (10). Then I have to mix the cement and carefully spread it on this light, flyaway 1" leaf. If the air temperature is not just right, it may be too thin and I then have to apply another layer in a day. (20) I then have to peel the leaf off a day or two later, file any messy edges and soak it in water a few days so it cures (20). Then I hand paint it (15). Next the bail is glued on and the "dewdrop" is attached (FYI, I make the dewdrops by actually SPLITTING beads in half!) (15).
 The final procedure is mixing the two part polyurethane THOROUGHLY and spreading the sticky, messy compound on the leaf, going back several times to brush off the excess that pools on the piece (60) It takes 24 hours to dry, and if at that time I discover it had not been mixed enough, the poly will be cloudy and the piece is junk! There is no way to determine that while it is setting. This polyurethane was developed for furniture and the like ~ as usual for me, I use a lot of products for reasons NOT intended for that product, so I have to improvise ~ there are no guidelines or instructions!

SO... once that is finished, I can choose to sell it as a loose pendant, in which case I only have to place them in ziploc bags, punch a hole in it to hang, place a card of heavy black paper (I cut out myself) behind it with the name of the leaf written on it, place the care and description card (also written, printed and cut out by hand) in the bag, and price it! (10)

I sell these for $18.50 (plus tax). So, for 2 1/2 hours of work,this comes to $7.40 hr.

If I do make one of the custom neckchains for it, with the "organic" components such as Freshwater pearls, beads made from semiprecious stones or shell, terra cotta, brass, silver, copper, horn, etc., that adds at least another 45 minutes to the piece (along with the extra cost of the beads). Stringing beads is not brain surgery, BUT it does take time to think about the design and determine which colors and components to use. I sell the pendants with these for about $28, which sets me at the same hourly wage.This is not counting ANY materials cost! Unfortunately,for a lot of artisans, these are GOOD wages, too!

Do they LOOK as if all that work goes into them? I don't think so, and I don't feel that they SHOULD ~ they should look as if the leaf and colors just quietly came together. And that's what I believe is just an element of good Art.


Levis Commons 2010 - Revisiting the 2010 Art / Craft show season

Another installment in the saga of my trials and successes in the Toledo art/craft show circuit...

Friday- setup. Took 3 hours - sunny and HOT! Staff passed out water to us. ( And WE just passed out! LOL)

Sat. - Cloudy start - hot & humid. Rain started 10 - 10:30, rained until 3 - got too cool for my sleeveless attire! Great artist amenities - coffee, donuts, bagels (think there was even a toaster in the artist "hospitality" tent!) juice, water, pop, fruit, and Andrew Z's supplied pizza! The hard part was getting to the food tent without getting soaked! Still had good sales, but really dropped after 5:00, and the show was open until 7:00! Drizzled until close. Dusk when we left. (Wind picked up about then, and I of course was worried the canopy would blow away, but everything was fine).

Sunday. Cloudy start - much better. Sun and breeze. TOO much breeze. Warm chocolate chip cookies donated by Max and Erma's. Was chilly most of the day, but sales were again good. I did purchase one thing, but I hated to leave our tent to go shopping, since it was spread out quite a distance would take me too long. Teardown went smoothly. (This is the Michigan Artist's Guild, which is the same Guild that hosts the Ann Arbor Street Fair, and I could really tell ~ everything was well organized and everyone knew what they were doing)! It WAS the most expensive festival I have ever done ~ guess you get what you pay for!


On A Bright, Sunny, Icy Day

...With nothing even I want to do outside, I decided to clean my paperweight collection, and after seeing them in the sunshine, had to create a little photo journal of my favorites! 
       ...Got a thing for butterflies, too...

A lot of them were acquired at garage sales, thrift shops, places like that, but a few were actually found at art shows. This is one of those...

                       And of course, anything with a nature theme is very appealing to me!
                                                       A millefiori type
               How about butterflies AND flowers?

                                            Another art show purchase
More flowers

                                                          One of my favorites

Even vases with paperweight type accents!
And my VERY favorite - one given to me by my husband ~ this is actually acrylic with a real seedhead inside! (Looks like dandelion, but much larger).