Piece #20 – The Snowman Challenge.


Piece #20 – The Snowman Challenge – Decorating a Snowman for the Christmas in Millerstown Celebration.

My brother-in-law purchased a big plywood snowman.  Different individuals and businesses in Millerstown were to decorate them to be on display during the small town community event this past Sat. Dec. 15.  His plans were to have a Sunday school class decorate it for our church.  However, all the kids were busy practicing for the Christmas program. 

Insert me, my two sons  and their cousins.  We took on the challenge. 

Of course I had to just look at it in my living room for a few days…..It was Uncle Alan’s “out of the box”  idea to make  wreaths!  We used sharpies on that side.

And lots of glitter…

At the last-minute we added acrylic penguins to the other side as well.  There might be a little bit of overachieving  in this family….

All were happy with the results.  Our Snowman even won 1st place.  We still  aren’t sure what that really means, but we met the challenge!

Piece #18 – How do all of you bloggers do it?

Piece # 18 – How do all of you bloggers do it?

I admit it.  I have a love /hate relationship with computers.  I’ve been rather angry at the two ancient models that we have in our home.  By the way, when did something 5-10 yrs. old become ancient? I did just say that. geesh.

 I do admit to having a love/love relationship with my snazzy, ultra-speedy iphone.  At some point in the last few months I realized I was actually keeping up with my email.  It is so simple to take care of when waiting during a practice or event to pick up my lovely children.  My new addiction to Pinterest is fed by the trusty phone app that doesn’t leave me on hold like I often am when sitting before the computer. 

I appreciate all of you dedicated bloggers.  When I first discovered art , diy, and teaching blogs I was so excited to find that I am not alone in my endless quest to move furniture. I am not the only teacher who would spend too much time figuring out how best to make sculpture cats and dogs so they can “rain down” in school.  Reading your ideas has been fun.  My creativity and problem solving skills are being challenged. I am encouraged and motivated by all the amazing art  projects so many of you generously share on your blogs and through pinterest.  I have too many ideas filling every space  in my head.  Art students BEWARE!

I find it hard to blog.  It’s not about the ideas, but the mechanics. Being an artist I want to see,  and yes touch the images that will be shown on the screen, not work  indirectly behind a dashboard.  Why is it that every time I try to upload images I am left searching and hunting for the picture files?  I have them organized by date and alphabetical order but still  have pictures disappear into the vortex of “shared files” or other bizarre locations.  There are Jpegs, tiffs, bitmaps and of course differnt artistic programs are incompatible….

When my laptop screen died (Ok, I do admit to possibly tripping,  dropping it really hard and breaking it) I did use it as an excuse to not blog. 

No, this is not a new computer, but the fixed up old one from from a family member’s work place.  It was ready to be recycled and was rescued for my use. I am thankful, it did get me through my online classes.

The idea of fighting with the desktop for an insane amount of time to write a few paragraphs about a project was daunting.  And I would miss working from my couch.

But in my mind I was blogging.  

During the summer  my sons and their cousins (and I also) gathered around the huge mosaic project and worked through a Harry Potter movie marathon. We did the same thing during the Olympics.  I wanted to write how the creation of such a large group project can foster a sense of community and sharing.

Ella made a great peacock painting. 

Eva and I got “girlie” and made ballerina art. She also brought me a party hat so that we each would have one on during one of her lessons.

I do have things to document and share.

So  how do you do it? Do you resent the time away from the art because you are documenting the art?  Does it feel like a chore?  Does it ever get to the point where a blog can be completed in less than an hour (or two)? 

At the library this week I found WordPress for Dummies.  I eyed it for quite a while before checking it out.  

And right now I sit on my very comfortable couch with the old laptop minus a working screen but hooked to the monitor from the old computer.  Whew! 

Maybe, just maybe I’ll figure all this blogging stuff out.  But the art, no, I’ll never give up the art.

Piece #17 – Feeling Blue?

1-Candy apple red door 002Piece #17 – Feeling Blue?

Paint something red…..


I completed seven professional development classes online in six months.  Now let’s face it –  when I was a college student this would not have impressed me.  But now that I am a wife, mom, and teacher, I have to say I am proud of my forays as a student.

But now what?

During these months I grew used to the long hours required on the computer and the deadlines looming ahead of me. 

It’s not like I don’t have lots to do. It’s just that this has been something challenging for me to do on my own.  It wasn’t about the boys or our home.  It was about me growing.

…and now I have been feeling blue. 

Shuffling around things in the basement I came across the Candy Apple Red “oops” paint that I found on clearance at a home improvement store. 


I started to paint.  No…not on a canvas.  A door. 

It’s the interior side door of our house. You know, the not as pretty one that everyone uses instead of the front door.  The white one. After the first coat the door appeared almost pink….yes, this made the males I live with a little nervous… and I wasn’t sure it was a good idea….

But then it started being fun.  I don’t know how many coats it now has on it.  It is not a perfect example of the proper way to paint.  I just started rolling on the paint.  A few places are uneven, and there may even be some visible paint strokes  (SHOCK). 

But regardless, there is something uplifting about this bold, surprising pop of color. 

How could anything with the name “candy apple red” not cheer you up?  When has color impacted your mood?

Piece #16 – If it can break the truck is that seriously too much paper?

Piece #16 -…if it can break the truck is that seriously too much paper?

I KNOW!!!!!  Do you see me happy dancing?

No, it did not break the truck. The paper was limited to 600 lbs. worth because much more and 


Seriously… Have you ever seen so much? 

I have and it’s in my basement!  Sometimes we just get such wonderful little blessings and other times they are whopping BIG!.

It started with a phone call and a statement like this, “Can your husband be home to help me lift the boxes of paper I have for you?”  It seemed a bit worrisome of a request.  I mean, I am not a wimpy paper lifter…

My husband’s cousin works at a paper printing company about an hour drive from where we live.  Years ago after learning what I do he mentioned that at his work stacks of paper can accumulate after printing jobs are completed. Rarely can the extra papers be used because each job has its own distinct paper requirements.  He thought there might be some nice paper to draw on and would I like some if he got the ok?


Oh the quality!  Thick velum.  Huge pieces, sizes like 26in. x 40in ( big x BIGGER). Smaller pieces of  bright orange card stock!  Thick bright white papers.  It’s the stuff you save  for very special projects.  I used the paper with my private students and took in bunches to school for my art classes.  Time and art projects came and went until I found that I was guarding the dwindling quantity very judiciously.. 

Unbeknownst to me there was a conversation at the family gathering this Easter.  My husband mentioned to his cousin, “Cousin, it looks like Wendy is getting low on that fabulous paper you gave her.”

Said cousin then contacted his boss, and then contacted the president of the company, who said, “YES, you may give your cousin’s delightful wife who teaches art some of the extra paper! “

Cousin then uses a FORK LIFT to get the boxes of paper, some even UNOPENED onto his truck. 


Now, do You know what 600 lbs of large paper looks like?  It looks like ALOT!

Here comes the critical question….

Can 600 lbs of paper fit under the bed?

Piece # 15 – Art inspires art…inspires art…inspires art…Let’s Eat Cake!

Art inspires art…inspires art…inspires art…Let’s Eat Cake!      Yes!  I admit it! I am partial to a special private art student.  He’s incredibly creative, energetic, and full of surprises.  I never escape his endless ideas that require my technical assistance.  He also wants to use MY art supplies!  At age eleven, my son Levi is one of the most challenging and rewarding young artists I get to work with.  


 Have you heard of them?  My niece introduced my son to these delightfully fun stuffed “monsters.”  Bright colors with lots of personality,  of course having only one is not enough.  He NEEDS ALL of the ugly dolls! 

I threw out the challenge that he could make some of his own.  He disappeared into his art area and within a few minutes returned with a drawing of his  interpretation.

After I gave him the thumbs up on his thumbnail sketch, he disappeared again. He emerged with a bright red Model Magic sculpture  named “Ugly Squirrel.”       COOL.       But as with many artists, this one form was not enough.  He wanted to make a stuffed version.

 “Mom, where are the needles?”

Seeing where this interest would lead, we began collecting supplies.  A soft fleece sweatshirt that was too small could be used to make a good ugly doll body.  We found some other colorful fleece scraps.  The stuffing from a faded pillow would make great “guts.”  Levi wanted a piece of my scarf for the tail (it also was used for camel hair – but that’s another story).


So it wasn’t long before Levi decided it was time to “sew him up.” With guidance he made a pattern from paper, pinned it, cut it, and then sewed it by hand.  It was the first time he did anything of the sort.  He then won ribbons for it both at the County Fair and the Youth Art Day competition.

 Can you see the resemblance?

 Well, the inspiration continued! In celebration of Levi’s art, inspired by art, inspired by art….I  made him an Ugly Squirrel Birthday Cake! 


Piece #14 – Youth Art Day Winners Revealed!

Piece #14 – Youth Art Day winners are revealed!

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As promised in an earlier blog (piece #2), I now have a slide show of artwork made by my private students.  These projects were part of Perry County Council of the Arts Youth Art Day that took place on April 21, 2012.  Entries were submitted from the three school districts in the county and from home-schooled and private students as well.

Because the school GPCCA closed, the number of entries by my students was much lower than in the past.

  NO MATTER… These kids ROCKED!

Proud  teacher moment…

Every one of my kiddos who entered placed!

Can you see me happy dancing?!!

Like so many of you I am inspired by the many amazing examples of art that can now be found on the internet.  Before I began blogging I didn’t keep track of links to the ideas.  I am now keeping better records.  The painting made up of mixed color squares was  from a beautiful child’s valentine.  I have also seen a watercolor version of the Monet bridge in several places.  My student finger-painted his acrylic version.  The “ugly squirrel” made by  Levi was his version of  an Ugly Doll.

Piece #13 – Teaching is about Learning.

Piece #13 – Teaching is about Learning.

Featured above is a small sampling of work from my private student Megs.  The gourds were homegrown from her farm and scrubbed clean.  Permanent ink was used for the drawings, and shellac was used to finish them.  Embroidery patterns inspired the floral works.

The fantastic illustrations of Ray Cruz in the children’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day provided a starting point for her first drawing. We studied his  techniques of drawing and using lines for shading, texture, and form.

Megs has come for class during her less busy winter months.  Her family owns and operates Happy Breeze Farm in Port Royal, PA.  She is a busy lady with many talents and hobbies.  She is a great seamstress and quilter,  and an inspirational  life-time learner.

From the beginning Megs wanted to work with pen & ink. She likes to make small, intricate, black and white, detailed drawings.


I tend to be  “artsy-flowy,” lots of color, BIG projects kind of gal…

But by helping Megs develop her hatching and cross-hatching skills, I experienced the joy of rediscovering an art form that I otherwise would have overlooked!

don’t you just love when that happens?

Piece #12 – Student guest blogger!

Piece #12-  Taylor’s Blog

awesome nyc by Taylor

My name is Taylor, I am 12 years old, and my artwork is called awesome nyc. This is a piece of art that looks like ncy I wanted it to look like nyc because when I went to visit my aunt there last summer I had a lot of fun. Plus I want to live in nyc when I get older.       –taylor    

Taylor’s project was made with chalk pastels on black paper.


Piece #10+1 – Maybe beautifully incomplete is complete?

Piece #10+1 – Maybe beautifully incomplete is complete?


Now, as an artist I must admit that I have a flair for the dramatic. THIS WAS NOT ONE OF THOSE TIMES! (refer back to piece #10)

Turns out I had a gall bladder attack, with a lovely little stone irritating my pancreas.  Apparently pancreatitis is a big deal and that led to a week in the hospital –





 (Another blog, another time.)

I missed the last two art sessions.  Just out of the hospital I visited the kids on their last day, walking cautiously in a sweatshirt and ultra-casual pj bottoms (sporting cows).  And NO ONE expected the mosaic to be finished…whew – dodged that one! 

All the kids signed the back of the board and it waited until I got it out again the next year… we continued to work on art curriculum…still not finishing it….Kids who worked on it signed the back. 

Then GPCCA became a satellite school for a larger private school and reduced the student population to pre-k and elementary grades.  The mosaic continued to wait…

Sadly, then came the announcement that due to declining enrollment the school would close its doors the end of May 2011.

SIGH… I brought it to my home where it still waits.

Beautifully incomplete…

It holds memories of teachers, kids and parents from a small, exceptional window of time. Maybe it is fitting that there are more spaces to be filled…

What do you think?