Monday, January 23, 2012




Empress Cassandra Goddess Planter

It’s springtime at my studio at Woodloft. (my home) I have to think one season ahead since it takes so long for my Goddess Planters to dry and then be fired in my kiln. I’m well on my way with many for my customers to choose from when they have their first showing in April.


As I sculpted each of Empress Cassandra’s features, she became more and more alive. I felt like she was watching my every move after her eyes were finished. She followed me around the studio, nodding yes or no as I chose the embellishments I would add. The name, Cassandra means “queen of the Olypian gods.” We will be making planters in my upcoming Faces class. Students will work at achieving this kind of realism in their planters, although we will be creating them on a much smaller scale.

Side View

Notice the gorgeous greenery that Cassandra displays? It’s plastic! Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t use plastic anything. Not cups, dishes, silverware and especially not plastic plants. One of my customer’s told me that she puts the expensive silk plants in the planters she has bought from me and she says they are stunning in her home. I thought I’d give it a go since the herbs that I normally place in the pots are hard for me to haul back and forth to the market, where I show. I’m now sold on this idea. Of course, I do intermingle the real ones among my planters in my home.

View From Front

Let me know if you are interested in one of my classes. The second class, Sculpting the Figure in Clay has only 1 space left but the Faces class has 3 openings. It will be a wonderful way to spend an all inclusive vacation with nothing to worry about but sculpting, swimming and dining since absolutely everything is included.

Can You Tell Which Planters Hold Real Greenery?

View From Back

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012




Full Version of Nadya Santos Doll in Windowsill

I’ve been experimenting with caged dolls again. Click here to see the first one I created. Even though a style seems to be emerging, I’m still not satisfied. I do love the aged look but I’m thinking of creating a more modern version while keeping with the history behind the dolls.

Close-up. Notice the sparkly beads at the hinges

I named my doll, Nadya, which means "hope" in Ukrainian. It's a name I just love. We will be sculpting a Santos doll in my upcoming class this summer titled, “Sculpting the Figure in Clay.” It will be interesting to see the various styles that the students will create. There is only one space left in that class. If you’d like to find out more, please click here to visit my webpage.

What I found out when I looked up the history of the Santos doll is that Santos, in Spanish, means saint. They represent a Spanish Colonial and European style and originated as copies of 17th century carvings created by priests. They were created as altars for villagers who were not able to travel a long distance to attend a church. They are a bit like Creche figures, which were created by the Italians.

The dolls were brought to Latin America and America during the Colonial age and used to help convert the Native Americans to Catholicism. The people who create the Santos dolls are called Santeros or Saint Maker. Not a bad occupation I’d say. Who wouldn’t want to be a maker of saints?

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Thursday, January 12, 2012



Actual Wings of a Butterfly

If you look very closely, you’ll see that the two ladies in this journal page are actually created with butterfly wings! I found them glued to a sheet of paper at the flea market about ten years ago and kept them in my stash for a future use.

Close-up Detail

Since I started my art journal this year, I knew that now was the time and place for them to take a stand in my artwork. I had to pull them off of the worn out paper they were glued to and reglue them to my journal page. It wasn’t easy since they are so delicate. The time and patience someone took in creating these two figures is amazing.

I used a marker to outline the figures and added a bit of a background with a stencil and markers. I wanted to keep the rest as simple as possible since there is so much detail in those tiny wings.

Another Close-up of Wings on Body

I wonder about the butterflies. Were they found in someone’s garden, extinguished of life and waiting to go through a metamorphous once again? I will never know but I do enjoy the beauties they have become.

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Monday, January 9, 2012



Caramelized, Roasted Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomatoes with Garlic and Olive Oil

From time to time, I search food blogs to find enticing, unusual recipes. I hit the jackpot when I found this one. It comes from Gourmand in the Kitchen blog, which you can get to by clicking here I decided to make the recipe exactly according to the one on the blog and had wonderful results. Of course, I had to add my own touch to the finished canning jars by using one of my faces for the label. Too bad my penmanship is so bad but at least it looks hand made. Another good thing about this recipe is that it is perfect for a winter diet, which a lot of us are on in January and February at least. Some may want to spoon it over a baked potato or pasta, but I found it to be delicious over lettuce in a salad, or just out of the jar.

I want to make it clear that even though I sterilized the jars in boiling water, I did not officially can the vegetables. If you decide to use canning jars, be sure to tell the recipients that they should be kept refrigerated and eaten within a week.

I Love the Way the Jars Look All Lined Up

The Flavor Improves After 48 Hours but I Didn't Wait That Long to Try!

I Found An Old Picnic Basket at the Flea Market and Painted Girl and Saying with Acrylic Paint

All Ready to go to The Le Petit Supper Club

If you are wondering where these jars are going, well, to my special friends at the Le Petit Supper Club as a New Year's gift. We consider our Supper Club to be one of the best kept secrets in Roanoke. Our theme for January was soups and sandwiches. I was worried about staying on my diet but was thrilled to find one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten and it is actually good for you! It was created by James Priestley, who has recently moved to Roanoke from Portland, Maine. The sandwich includes a strange combination of ingredients that I did not think would work but I was wrong.

James' Healthy Tempeh Stackups

Close-up of Interior of Sandwich

So here is the recipe (James says it is not a recipe but a concoction) for the marinated vegetables and the ingredients for the sandwich. He also didn’t give them a name but I did..”Healthy Tempeh Stackups”

Healthy Tempeh Stackups

Toasted sprouted grain bread, swiss cheese, grainy hot mustard, prepared horseradish, 3 grain tempeh sauteed in sesame oil with coarse red pepper and a sprinkle of soy sauce, sauerkraut, sweet red pepper, sliced red onion,baby bella mushrooms sauteed in olive oil, butter, and paprika, spinach just lightly collapsed in hot olive oil (sauteed) and sprinkled with balsamic vinegar, the top slice of toasted bread brushed with extra virgin olive oil, 3 sprout mix or alfalfa sprouts and love!

One more minor but important note regarding the tempeh: place it upon a cutting board and slice it laterally before sauteeing it in the skillet. The freshly cut surface will absorb whatever flavors you care to add much more readily than the outside surface, and it cooks in half the time.

Roasted Vegetables All Ready for the Oven

RECIPE: Marinated Roasted Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomatoes with Garlic and Thyme

• 4 medium zucchini, thinly sliced into rounds
• 3 small eggplants, thinly sliced into rounds
• 6 or 7 medium sized tomatoes, quartered or sliced into rounds depending on size (or alternatively 1 basket cherry or grape-sized tomatoes, halved)
• 4 large fresh thyme sprigs
• 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 cup / 240ml (or more) extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180 C).
2. Arrange the zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Scatter the leaves from 2 thyme sprigs and garlic cloves over. Drizzle with some of the olive oil, then sprinkle with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Roast for about 45 minutes or until tender, turning the vegetables over occasionally; until they shrink slightly but are still plump and moist.
4. Layer the hot vegetables, peeled roasted garlic cloves and remaining fresh sprigs of thyme, into into sterilized jars, filling them to the very top. (You can use one large jar or a few smaller ones.)
5. Cover the vegetables completely with the rest of the extra virgin olive oil and put the lids on tightly.
6. Put the jars aside until they’re cool.
7. Refrigerate at least 48 hours to allow the flavors to develop. Bring to room temperature before using.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
Cooking time: 45 minute(s

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012



Journal Page Number 1

Remember the old journals that they used to sell years ago-long before memory making journals were even thought of? Well, I made a new years resolution that after seeing so many creative journals in blogland, that I wanted to finally start my own.

Journal Page Number 2

Unfortunately, it was the New Year’s holiday and no stores were open for me to go out and purchase a spiffy journal album. Actually, I really didn’t want to buy one anyway in case I messed up. Since the creative spirit or muse hit, I knew I had to improvise. I dug through my old pictures that I keep meaning to get sorted and found several ugly old journals that must be 40 years old! They are one of a kind now since I don’t think anyone is making these outdated beauties anymore.

Old Album I found In My Studio

Here are 2 that I have finished. Oh how I wish I had good penmanship! I’ve tried writing and printing on some of my artwork before and it is unreadable! I have even taken courses in calligraphy to no avail. I was thinking of trying to write in Italian or French which would be fun but I can’t do that either. I’m taking an Italian course right now so maybe next year but for now, my scribbles will have to do.


My method for these two pages was this. On page number 1, I used a digital print of one of my original paintings and painted the background with acrylic so that it can be written on. Then, I cut out pictures from magazines and attached along with a very ancient looking key I had in studio. I painted over her hair with purple acrylic and then added a coat of sparkle translucent paint over the background making sure I didn't completely hide the musical notes and finally added Dorland's wax medium for a refined look and for protection. I love this wax.

For page number 2, I used magazine images and rubbed Never-Dull Wadding Polish to meld the images to my liking. Then I applied crackle glaze to the face and finished it off with more of the Dorland's wax.

Another Close-Up of Crackle Technique

I haven’t written on either of the pages yet (still procrastinating) so if anyone would like to make a copy of them to use in your own journaling, please feel free.

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