An Everyday Thanksgiving

Today I am foregoing a creative post because I am off to work on my taxes...something in which you should probably not be creative.

So, I leave you with three pics of my day in France last summer. They have nothing to do with anything, except it was a terrific day and remembering it makes me happy. I am thankful for that day and the people with whom I shared it.

Today, I am also thankful for:

  • The work God has provided, which ends in paying taxes.
  • Memories of good times. It is my college roommate Carol's birthday today. We used to do the bump together. It was the 70s. So, today we have decided to turn on some BTO and bump the wall in replacement of each other. If you are too young to know BTO, look it up. Then do the bump.
  • I went to the phone store today to get a new battery for my phone. And what do you know? Buying a new upgraded phone is cheaper right now than buying a battery. When does that happen?
  • I am headed into Detroit tomorrow to check out an elementary school with the possibility of redecorating some rooms this summer with Divine Design.  God opens the doors!
  • Oh yes, and On The Border salsa.  Warmed up = perfection.
Off to take care of one of life's sureties,
Take some Vitamin C for me!

Understanding Your Learning Style

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about learning styles. I think it is because I just took a month long online class, and I will tell you more about that in a bit.

In case you are not aware of your own learning style, you should find out and understand it. It will make many things easier for you, not just learning and classwork. Learning styles affect how you remember, focus, talk on the phone, pray, read a book, figure out a craft project, organize projects and people, and well, pretty much everything you do.  I think they should be called focusing styles instead of learning styles. Understanding learning styles can help you adapt material and how it is presented to fit you better.

If you have a hard time focusing on something, it is probably not directed to your learning style.

There are basically three types of learners:

Visual learner: 
  • you learn better by reading
  • illustrations and diagrams in color are very helpful to you
  • you like to see the facial expressions and body language of the person presenting to you, video is good, sitting in the front of the classroom is good
  • when you have lost something, if you close your eyes, you can probably see the last place you had it
  • you can easily sit still and read as long as there is no hands-on or listening involved
Auditory learner:
  • as long as you can hear the instructions, you do not need to see the teacher, the text, or the action
  • it helps you to learn if you read it outloud
  • for you, learning takes place well in a lecture situation
  • repeating things outloud cement them in your head
Kinesthetic learner:
  • you need activity and frequent breaks
  •  you speak with your hands or act things out
  • a hands-on situation helps you learn and retain, learning by doing is good for you
  • you have a hard time sitting still and focusing, for instance quiet meditation is impossible
I am a kinesthetic learner. Once I figured that out, my life got easier. For one things, I could never sit still with my head bowed and hands folded to pray like I had always been taught. The minute I do that, my mind is all over the galaxy. I found out that if I walk or journal, or doodle while praying, I can pray for hours.  When I talk on the phone, I pace around my house, and that helps me focus on the conversation. When in a classroom situation, writing or drawing while ingesting material helps me learn and retain it. Even when I read, if I rewrite the parts I need to remember, that is all it takes. I know that I have a short attention span, and taking frequent breaks actually helps me focus better between breaks. I have piles of notes and doodles.

Nephew #2 is an auditory learner. He is in college right now and is having a hard time with all of the reading that is assigned. If he can read the material from the book outloud, hearing it helps him learn it. If he can read it into a tape recorder and play it back, that is even better.

So, I just finished the Blogging Your Way class taught by Holly Becker of Decor8 and Leslie Shewring of A Creative Mint.  As teachers, both of them have this figured out. The lessons were taught online via text, with lots of photos, strengthened by podcasts and videos. The material was often presented in more than one way. It was well thought out and well presented for everyone, not just visual learners. That takes time and effort on the part of the teacher, but pays off for students. You see that understanding learning styles will help you be a better teacher as well.

You can google "learning styles quiz" to help you figure out your learning style if you don't know it already. Here is one that is short and sweet: quiz to find your earning style. Once you understand your style, you can begin adapting to help you find pain-free focus and learning.

Take your Vitamin C!

Art for Habitat for Humanity

It is true. I just love to see artists use their skills and talents to give back a bit to the community in which they it local or global. For the story on this chair made by Zenbecca, go to her blog at Everything is ticketyboo!  Love it!

She took her Vitamin C!

Colorful Button Flowers

They are a little Seussical, don't you think? Go here on the Blumenthal Lansing website to see some other cute button flowers. 

But, you know that I live in the camp of bigger is better, so here we go...

To make these Bigger is Better button flowers, you need:
  • assorted bright color buttons
  • craft wire (mine is black) 
  • crimp tubes
  • flat pliers
  • crystal beads
  • head pins
  • jump rings
  • round nose pliers
  • cardboard or watercolor paper (I recycled a paper drink cup)
  • scissors
  • gesso
  • acrylic paint and paintbrush
  • circle template about 3"
  • pen or pencil
  • hole punch
  • wire cutters
Do this:

1.  Trace a circle on paper or cardboard, cut out.

Punch holes around the outside edge. On one I punched 8 and on another, I punched 12.  Poke a little hole in the center with a pen or a nail. Paint with gesso; Let dry.

2. Paint with acrylic paint. Let dry.  Attach beads.  Place a bead on a head pin. Bend the pin 90 degrees just above the bead. Trim the pin to 1/2".  Grab the very end of the pin and roll back toward the bead, making a loop.  Hook to the big circle with a jump ring.  Do that for all the holes you punched.

3.  Cut a wire about 10" long. Crimp a crimp tube to one end.  I did not worry about pretty crimps, I just pinched them flat.  String on buttons or groupings of buttons.  Crimp a crimp tube above and below each grouping.   Put as many buttons as you want on the wire, graduating larger down the wire. When you use the biggest buttons, the holes might be too big for the crimp. Just stick a little button on there.

4. Crimp the paper circle below the buttons.

Have fun with colors and sizes. Make a bouquet!

Don't Forget the Giveaway!

Blumenthal Lansing sends out a newsletter. It is called Button Bits and is full of great buttony info. Go to the Blumenthal Lansing website and click on the links that look like to read the newsletter, the other to take the survey.

Fill out the three question survey and you will be registered for the giveaway. BL is giving away $50 worth of buttons including some of their newest lines. $50 worth of buttons!!

You only have until March 31 to fill out the survey. Do it now!

While you are there, click the "join" link at the top of the page and join the BL web community. Newsletters and other fun stuff will come directly to you in the future.

Good Luck!
Take Your Vitamin C.

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Painted Backgrounds and Borders Notebook

I have been fighting bronchitis the last month or so, it comes and it goes.  This idea came to me one night in a Nyquil induced dream.  Nyquil is my friend.

Almost always, we do some kind of furniture painting when Divine Design goes on a mission trip.  Between prepping the chair, doing the basecoating, and adding the details, many people get hands on a piece of furniture. Most times, nobody will attempt the detailing but me, and part of the reason is that they are not sure what they should do.

So, my Nyquil dream told me that I should have a sort of notebook of backgrounds and borders to give other painters a starting point. Plus, I forget what I have done in the past, and a reminder will be good for me too. The rules for furniture painting on a mission trip are: it must be fast, and it must be simple.  

I made my background notebook out of an old Journeys magazine that I was done with. 

For more stable, thicker pages, glue two together, back to back. The first step was to cover the pages with gesso.  If you have not used gesso (pronounced jess-o), you must give it a try. It is used as a primer coat, a mask. It also comes in black. Works great, it is a valuable tool for your art box.

My selected palette of acrylic craft paints...

Each page was basecoated after the gesso dried.

On each page, I painted a background or a border. Hopefully, someone can look at the page and with a bit of instruction, be able to duplicate it on piece of furniture. 

These are just examples. Sometimes I combine two or three of these into a new pattern. And if you change the colors used, it can give you a totally different feel.  The background will be much softer if you paint it with a monochromatic palette, for instance.

These are just visual road maps, guidelines, ideas.

What kind of thing do you do that would benefit you from inclusion in a handy notebook?

Take you Vitamin C....and your Nyquil!

The Lord's Prayer Graffiti

In an extension of our sidewalk graffiti project, this afternoon, I spent 3 hours writing the Lord's prayer in 2' tall letters on the walls in the auditorium at church. It will be the focus of the next couple services.

It is my favorite kind of project. It was easy.  It just required printing letters. It was quiet in there, I spent most of the time alone. Part of the joy I get from projects at church is the quiet time I spend without distraction. Yes, it is quiet at home in my studio, but there are 23432343 distractions in every direction.

 So, I perform my physical task and that allows me to focus mentally on prayer or singing or thinking. It is about the only time I get to do that.

Last week, all of these pieces of paper were put up on the walls.  On Sunday morning, people were encouraged to get up and write on the paper. They could write a prayer, or a meaningful verse, or whatever they were feeling or responding to from the sermon.

So today when I wrote The Lord's Prayer over top of what came from their hearts, I kept thinking that I was wrapping all their personal prayers up in The Lord's prayer...just tucking them right in there. Nice.

Another example of how serving brings blessings back to you.

Take your Vitamin C!

Homage to Liz

Like everyone, I am thinking about Elizabeth Taylor today. Her legacy is truly impressive, wouldn't you agree? Not only do we remember her for her film work, but when we think of her, we think about gorgeous jewelry....and husbands.  And since I cannot manufacture one of those for you, I opted for a necklace.

This is a photo of Liz after she won the Oscar for Best Actress in BUtterfield 8 in 1960.  She also won the same Oscar for Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf in 1967.

Love this necklace! Click the photo of Liz to see a closer pic of it.  


It was oh, so easy to make.  You need:
  • Shrinky Dinks (I used frosted ruff n' ready)
  • colored pencils: goldenrod, 2 colors of green
  • white felt
  • snap or hook and eye
  • needle and thread
  • scissors, the smaller and pointier the better
  • an 8mm yellow rhinestone for each flower you make (to fill a choker, you should make 13 or 15)
  • hot glue gun and glue
  • gold glitter glue
  • dinner plate
  • pencil
Do this:
1. Trace dinner plate on felt. Cut out.  Cut a thin strip from outside of circle. Fit strip around neck to form choker.  Cut off excess felt.  Stitch snap or hook and eye to the back ends for closure.

2.  Trace and color in patterns you want to shrink onto Shrinky Dinks plastic. I traced half of the leaves as mirror images, so they could be symmetrically opposite each other on the necklace.
Feel free to use my patterns or draw your own. When you click on this and print it out, the flower should be about 3" across.

3.  Cut all pieces out.  I lost a few petals on my daisies, but I baked them anyway.

4.  Shrink in the oven following the instructions on the package.  I have found that they shrink so much better, without curling if you put brown kraft paper or a brown paper bag on the cookie sheet.  All those petals will be a nightmare if they start curling up. Here is one before and one after shrinking.

5.  Assemble on the felt necklace, starting with one daisy in the center. Place daisies side by side, not overlapping.  Tuck leaves under daisy petals.  On the necklace Liz is wearing, the leaves do not go all the way around, there are only 12 leaves: 4 around the center daisy, and 2 each for the next two flowers right and left of center.

Glue everything in place.

6.  Add thin lines of glitter glue randomly to daisy petals.  Let it dry.

I don't know who originally designed the necklace in the photo, but who knows? We might be wearing a   copy of a Harry Winston!

Wish I could figure out how to make that Burton/Taylor diamond!

Can't wait for the AMC Liz retrospective!
Take your Vitamin C......

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200 Bracelets with Hopes and Dreams

We finished our 200 bracelets for My Sister Song tonight.   The hours we spent were for a very worthwhile ministry in the Detroit metro area, that helps girls to leave a life in the sex industry.

And, I got to spend a couple evenings stringing beads and visiting with old and new friends.  We had women from church ranging in age from pre-teen to late 70s. It is so great to see generations working together on a common cause.

Tonight, I sat at a table with six high school girls. The conversations were most enlightening, especially this one:

"I just know that when I am proposed to, it will not be cute."

"Molly's Dad proposed to her Mom the day after he met her because he was in the Air Force and shipping out."


"My Dad did not even propose to my Mom, he just assumed they would get married."

"Yeah, I want a cute proposal. Something he really thinks about and plans out."

"I know."

"Me too.


"Movies are wrecking my life."

That made me laugh and then pray. I hate that they might ever find out just how much life is not like the movies when it comes to hopes and dreams, and I am praying tonight for each of them that their lives turn out to be exactly like a romantic comedy.

It also reminded me about some young girls working in strip clubs and worse here in Detroit.  Girls for whom we made these 200 bracelets. Girls who were dealt a bad hand in life or who made a bad decision that got them off track. Wonder what the hopes and dreams were that they traded in to be where they are today.

All our young girls need prayers.

Thin Bangle Series #6 - Fibers

I hope you have been having as much fun as I have with this series. Not a penny has been spent on any of these bangles, because all of the materials were scraps in my stash. You can use my bangles as idea springboards, and use the scraps you have in your own stash to design your own fab bangles.

 Start with the same plain, thin metal bangle.

Leaving a tail of about 4, wrap the bangle with ribbon or fabric. This is 7/8" grosgrain. A strip of t-shirt fabric works well too. Use what you have. It took about 3/4 of a yard.

Tie a tight knot with the tails. Trim the tails off.

Using scraps of yarns and fibers, wrap the bangle again. Start by knotting the yarn to the bangle, leaving a tail. When you have used all of that yarn, tie another one to it, and keep wrapping.  You can also string seed beads and add those to the wrap. When the bangle is completely wrapped, Knot the final tail to the beginning tail.

Slide a charm onto the yard anyplace and wrap it!
Easy and cute!
Take Your Vitamin C and see what you come up with!

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