I have long been an admirer from afar of Michelle Wards Green Pepper Press Street Team. I don’t always get over to her blog to check out the challenges, but when I do I end up staying half of forever reading back posts. She has so many creative ways to stretch your artistic muscles that I always leave feeling renewed and wanting to try something new. But, until now, I have not ever ‘officially’ joined in a monthly challenge. While drinking my coffee this morning, I visited her blog to learn of her sisters passing. My heart goes out to Michelle and her family for their considerable loss. Michelle’s response to her grief is this Pay It Forward challenge. She is one amazing gal! Now I have done several PIF’s and RAK’s this past year, on a small scale. It feels so good to see a package go off, knowing it will make someone smile, and hearing back that it made a difference to that person is the best possible feeling! Today though, I would like to share a few RAK’s I have received from none other than my best friend, whom I happen to be married to. This is not to be all sappy and sweet. It is to share how the smallest of things can turn someones day around. We often overlook the people that are closest to us, taking them for granted, and if we just took that extra minute to do something unexpected for them, how much it would uplift them.

Long ago we adopted a little word, ‘shmily’. I don’t even remember where we got it from, it means ‘see how much I love you?’ This little word shows up unexpectedly, and is an instant lift to the spirit! It is a little RAL (random act of love) that will brighten the worst of days. How could you not smile, if you found this written into the dirty window of your car, or written on the shower wall after DH has left for an early morning flight? Now, I’m not going to say that my DH is perfect, or that we don’t have our ‘moments’, we are human, but the things that stand out in my mind are the little things that show me how much he loves me. When I accidentally pulled the bumper off our brand new GTO, and had to call him while he was on a trip to tell him, he knew how upset I was and sent me flowers with a note saying “That’s alright, I’m ok, it ain’t nothin’ but another day. Only God knows where I’d be, if you ever stopped loving me.” These are words from a song by Montgomery Gentry. I’d rather have flowers on a day like that than an anniversary any day!

So I guess the thought I would like to leave with you is, do something nice for the person closest to you. It doesn’t have to be big, just a RAL that will make his heart smile:-)

Hand Carved Stamps

After visiting both Michelle Ward’s Green Pepper Press, (to order some fabulous new stamps) and Laurie Blau-Marshall’s blogs, and seeing all of the lovely hand carved stamps, I thought I would share a few also. Carving you own stamps is soooo much fun! I made my first attempts last year, when I taught a unit on it to my 5th graders. They had so much fun we even extended the lesson a couple of weeks! Their work was auctioned off at a fundraiser for the school and now hangs in a doctors office. This is the background I did using the Fleur d’le (sp?) stamp on the right. The diamond background was made to use in a ZNE design team challenge. It is an ATC background. Carving your own stamps is not hard, inexpensive, and lots of fun. You can draw your own image, or use an image transfer. Laurie had a great idea of outlining your design in charcoal and then burnishing it onto the rubber with a bone folder. I usually just draw right on the rubber and I like to take a small gouging tip of the Speedball carving tool, and make little gouges in the finished design for a distressed look. Have fun and let me know if you try it out so I can come have a looksee!

Latest Lovely Lady

This is my latest 12×12 mixed media portrait. It is titled, “Take Care of the Sparrow”. My camera is not the greatest, so the depth of the background is hard to see. I think mommy needs a new digital camera for mother’s day-hint, hint! She has a nest in her hair (Michelle Ward stamp) complete with an egg. A little sparrow (transfered image courtesy of Dawn Edmondson) sits on her shoulder. Spring is in the air today, and it inspired me to finish this portrait. I even got to sit outside to do the shading. I was going for lighter springtime colors, which is a stretch for me since I loooove aging things. She is available for sale in my etsy store.