Sunday, May 31, 2009




Woodloft, the name I have given my home, abounds with every kind of mosaic you can imagine. I think the most unusual item that I have chosen to mosaic is my art car, B-dazle, pictured above.

B-dazle in 2000, the year I started my project

Several months later

23,000 beads, bangles and baubles and 6 years later

B-dazle offered me the challenge in mosaic I was looking for. My idea for my next art car is to create a montage over the entire car featuring Roanoke City Market vendors and historic sights.

Fantasy Art Chair

Another fun project was my Fantasy Art Chair. I found a very sturdy chair from a salvage company here in Roanoke, Virginia. Black Dog is one of my favorite places for great 'finds'. I placed tile and a mirror to the back of seat and attached ball roller feet for easy transport. I feel like a queen when I sit in this chair!

Close up view of Fantasy Art Chair

Electric Lady Lamp

This mannequin was in very good shape. I had a carpenter friend wire her for electricity and then I added mirror tile and gold leaf tile I created myself. I'll show how to make this very inexpensive alternative in a later post.

Labyrinth created for my laundry room floor

This was another tedious project. My minature 11 circuit labyrinth is approx 4' in diameter and took several months to finish.

Lady of Shalott sewing center

Goddess Ceremonial Altar

Another Goddess Ceremonial Altar-this one has snake earrings

Last but not least, the stoneware clay planters. I love watching the herbs trail down along the face as the summer progresses. More garden ideas soon!

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Friday, May 29, 2009



This ragged wheelbarrow was ready for the trash heap. Wheels were broken and sides rusted through. I added a bit of paint which brought it up a notch.

Woodloft garden, like most gardens, has gone through many changes over the years. I love to take items that are clearly ready for the trash and give them new life. I’m going to show you a few of my before and afters.

Meet Peggy Pots

Peggy a few summers ago

Peggy had a rough winter

This year my granddaughter, Marcy, redecorated Peggy. She still needs a bit of work but she is almost ready for another hot summer. She sports a pair of my mother's old tennis shoes and we used a gourd for her head.

Peggy, 2009


Just because your old door mats are looking worn and tired doesn’t mean you have to throw them away. The backing on them is usually pretty rugged and meant to last many years. A little acrylic paint on the front design and they are even better than new.


Before: faded doormat


I bought a simple $13 plastic Adirondack chair from Home Depot and a can of berry Rust-Oleum spray paint. What a difference! I’ll probably replace the pillow I temporarily placed on it with something waterproof. I bought 2 of these chairs and am so pleased at the way they rev up my garden.

Before: dull, lifeless yellow chair

After: bright, bold and cheery

Next time I’ll show you a few more of my recycled creations.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009



Lily the mannequin

Of all my loves, gardening is just about at the top of my list. I'm wondering why it took me so long to start posting stories of Woodloft Garden, the name I gave the garden surrounding my home, Woodloft. Perhaps it is because at this time of year, things are in a state of disarray. It takes me all of April and May to bring the grounds and garden back to life.

Woodloft Garden has an unusual resident in addition to the various critters that typically inhabit such a place. She is Lily, a mannequin. I purchased Lily from a friend at Happy's Flea Market several years ago. She goes through a change almost every year. This year she is bright and cheery and I almost want to rename her "Chiquita Banana" after the dancer of the 50's.

Here she is a few years ago looking very relaxed in her setting.

I placed her next to the 'lily' pond that I created from an old Roman bathtub. It is hard to believe that I once bathed in this tub! I'll tell you more about how this pond was created in a later post. Here, Lily is covered with moss and surrounded by old pharmacy bottles and flowers.

You can see Lily reflected in one of the mirrors I added to the back of my garage. Adding mirrors to an area creates a feeling of dimension. I have placed many around the gardens at Woodloft.

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Monday, May 25, 2009



Strawberry Mango Yum Yum in champagne glass

Hand-stamped recipe I create for my children and others

In a quest to serve something refreshing for dessert for our Memorial Day celebration, I turned, once again, to my chef friend, Stratton Wayne St. Clair. Wayne frequently visits my booth at the Roanoke City Market on Saturdays to share one of his culinary creations. This week was no different. He offered me his recipe for Strawberry Mango Yum Yum. I asked him how he came up with the name for this dessert. He told me he has made it several times, and everyone who tastes it says, "yum, yum." I wanted to find out if I could get the same reaction.

Strawberries and mango with sorbet

Cam says, "Yum."

Beth says, "Yum."

Mikayla says, "Yum, Yum."

Before and after - it worked!

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Seymour and Longevity

Seymour and Longevity

Seymour Greene-age 92

For many years, I’ve proclaimed that I’ll live to be 135. I’m not sure where that number came from. I know I’m hoping to live to over 100, and I guess I just selected 135 at random. Being interested in my health, I have studied longevity off and on. I’ve found that the people of Okinawa who adhere to the traditional diet of that island live the longest, healthiest lives. They have a diet rich in soy (especially fermented soy products like miso) and fish. They work well into their 80’s and 90’s, and are said to be content with their lives.

From what I’ve read, the experts in the field of longevity say that to live a long and healthy life you must exercise regularly and try to remain thin. You must drink plenty of clean water, try not to eat too much red meat, eat a lot of vegetables, keep a positive attitude, walk, work, and laugh.

Seymour Greene

One of the few people I’ve known who has lived to an advanced age in good health is Seymour Greene. Seymour will be 93 in July. As long as I’ve known him, I’ve always asked him how he can look and act like a man much younger than his years. Today, however, I got serious with my questions, and he graciously endured my inquisition. What I found is quite amazing.

Seymour said he drinks water only with the three pills he must take each day. He says he doesn’t like water and only drinks it when he has to. So much for that health tip. He said he didn’t eat any vegetables till he was older and married. He always hated them, even though his father was a food packager and brought home vegetables and fruit by the truckload. He says he did eat the fruit. When I asked him if he takes nutritional supplements, he jokingly said, “What are they?” Then, he told me he takes only one supplement a day, a multivitamin. When I asked him the brand, he said very firmly – like the good employee he is – “Kroger brand.” Yes, Seymour still works! He has been an employee of the local Kroger grocery store for many years and works 5 hour shifts 2 days a week.

So what is it that accounts for Seymour’s long life? I asked if his ancestors were genetically predisposed to longevity. “Oh yes, my genes,” he said. “My doctor told me it has to be my genes. I told him I intended to go to the store because I heard they were on sale for $12.99 and I wanted to get two pair.” Obviously, Seymour still has his sense of humor. He still “has it” mentally in every way as far as I can see, and could easily hold his own with most 60-year-olds.

Seymour hails from Indianapolis, Indiana and attended Purdue University. He worked in industrial equipment sales for many years. He was also married for 68 years! His wife passed away recently. He said she used to cook gourmet dinners for him every night, but now he is on his own.

Seymour's shopping cart loaded with healthy food!

I looked into his shopping cart and was impressed to see an array of healthy foods on top of the basket. There were lots of vegetables and whole-grain dark rye bread. I commented to Seymour that he seemed to be eating right even though his wife wasn’t there to cook for him anymore. He said, “Oh, you mean all those things on the top of the cart? Those are my son’s groceries. I picked up a few things for him. My groceries are on the bottom.” I looked at the bottom of the cart to find gooey pies, artificially colored drinks, white bread and bubba burgers.

So, my quest for the answer to longevity goes on with more questions than answers. And as far as Seymour is concerned … it’s gotta be the genes/jeans!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009



6 different kinds of onions placed on my teak cutting board with an oil on wood painting by my father, James Galloway, in the background

Chef Stratton Wayne St. Clair wandered into my booth at the Roanoke Farmer’s Market on Saturday (ya gotta love him if only for his sophisticated name). I am always excited when I see him because I know he is going to share one of his original creative recipes with me. Several months ago, he gave me the recipe for his "6 Onion Soup." I didn’t think anything could be as good as the onion soup I had discovered in Saint Louis at Famous-Barr department store. Once a month, I would take my children there from our home in Lake St. Louis to enjoy the store's soup and its equally famous peppermint chocolate milkshakes. Our first stop was always the bookstore and then it was off to Famous-Barr for lunch. I was surprised and delighted to find that this recipe is even better than the onion soup there. Here it is. Famous Barr -- eat your heart out!

One of the hand-stamped recipes I make for my children

All 6 onions simmering in the pot

Here is the finished product. I had to hurry to snap a picture of it because it disappears so quickly.

6 Onion Soup

This soup is smooth and subtle. No single onion stands out over the others. The flavors mesh marvelously. It is hard to believe that there is no flour or butter added to this recipe.

Chef St. Clair has offered me another recipe that he thought I might like for my Memorial Day celebration later this week. It is called “Strawberry Mango Yum Yum.” I am anxious to try it. If it proves to be as yummy as he says it is, I’ll include it in next week’s "Food for Thought" recipe.

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Monday, May 18, 2009



Closeup of box containing grandpa's wheel

Wheels of all kinds have always captivated me. In trying to find the reason behind this fascination, my thoughts go back to my grandfather. Benjamin Clarence Galloway. Grandpa Ben was an inventor. To make a living, he owned a custom auto body shop in Leavittsburg, Ohio, a little community on the outskirts of Warren. But he was an inventor at heart.

Benjamin Clarence Galloway

As far back as I can remember, "grandpa’s wheel" existed. He was born in 1892 and apparently had been working on the wheel since about 1935. He built many models of his wheel over a period of about fifty years. The wheel was metal with myriad gears, circles and other contraptions that I couldn’t begin to describe. Whenever he could, Grandpa Ben would corner my brother and me to talk about the wheel. He’d have us sit on the floor and he would pull out this tremendous blueprint. When we were children of about 6 and 9 years old, respectively, it was hard for us to comprehend anything about this blueprint, but he insisted we "pay attention." He told us that he was inventing a device for perpetual motion and that someday his wheel would be under the hood of every car in the world. No, he wasn’t crazy, but perhaps a bit overzealous and misguided. Ben had worked with gears and wheels for most of his life and knew a great deal about the workings of engines.

Various parts Grandpa used to assemble his wheel

One day, grandfather Ben called me into the room. He was shouting and very excited. His wheel had been running for over 3 days with no input of energy from anyone or anything since he had started it. His excitement soon turned to disappointment, however, when the wheel finally came to a stop.

Grandpa Ben worked on the wheel up until the end of his life. Each year, as he got older, the wheel became smaller and smaller. Parts were expensive and it was harder for him to lug them around each year. By the time Grandpa Ben reached his 91st birthday, his wheel had gone from three feet in diameter to a puny four inches. What had started as a five foot square blueprint was ultimately reduced to a sketch of the wheel on a small sheet of paper.

Box I created for Grandpa's wheel with diagram on left

My brother, Jim, and my sons, Charlie and Cameron, have pulled the wheel out of the box I made for it many times in a vain effort to reactivate it. We’ve all come to the conclusion that grandpa was on to something with his wheel, but we're not sure what.

Another view of the box I created for Grandpa's wheel. I wanted it to look as mysterious as all the gears and gizmo's inside. I used old locks, keys, an antique wine opener and handmade letters.

Grandpa Ben came by his inventiveness and eccentricity from his mother, Elizabeth Kennedy Galloway. For example, Elizabeth used to making a crinkling sound when she walked or rocked in her favorite rocking chair. When my mother asked my father why his grandmother made such an odd noise when she moved, my father replied, "Oh, that. My grandmother wears newspaper under her dresses. She believes the smoke from my grandfather's pipe is bad for her and she thinks that by wearing paper she will protect herself. She says that someday we will all find out that you should not inhale smoke or have it get near your body." She was a woman ahead of her time. She and my great-grandfather, Benjamin Lowe Galloway, actually both lived into their nineties just like their son, my Grandpa Ben.

My great-grandparents, Elizabeth Kennedy Galloway and Benjamin Lowe Galloway. They were Quakers from Marietta, Ohio.

Someday I'll build a sculpture that includes Grandpa Ben’s wheel. The subject of the sculpture will be an enthusiastic inventor who looks as though he has made a tremendous breakthrough in technology - which is the way I remember him.

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Friday, May 15, 2009



Assortment of items used to create purse

Last Saturday, my friend, Trish, came by my booth at the Farmers market in Roanoke and offered me a black purse that she no longer wanted. She thought I might be able to use it in my work. After examining the fabric, even though I knew this was an expensive purse (Trish only buys the best), I did not think I could incorporate it into one of my sculptures. The texture of the fabric did not seem conducive to the creation of anything I could fabricate for one of my tall standing figures.

During the week, my mind kept drifting to the purse. I didn’t want to have to donate it to Goodwill, but I knew I would never carry it because I have been accustomed to wearing a "fanny pack" through necessity. Years of exhibiting at art shows and on the market have taught me that I must keep my money close to my body for security purposes. After eliminating all possibilites of using the purse in my sculpture, I started asking myself questions. Why did I have to use it in my sculpture? Why couldn’t it just be a purse?


I took out one of the quilted batik faces that I normally use in the Quilted Art Journals and assembled some interesting embellishments from my studio. I quilted and embroidered the face, glued old European coins and other embellishments to the surface. I used a Goddess pendant to replace the zipper pull and attached small antique keys to it.



I am glad I gave this orphaned purse a new life. All too often, we tend to give away or throw away items that are no longer usable. If more people would stop and think about how that item might be used in a different way or repaired, we might save our environment. It starts with one small step at a time.

I wonder if Trish will want her purse back!

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