Thursday, October 29, 2015

Happy Crafty Halloween!

While we are frantically searching for our Halloween wigs and props so we can greet all the kids in style, I can't help but remember how much fun the annual trick -or-treat ritual was when my kids were young.

It was also when our life with dogs began.  Madison, our once-in-a-lifetime genius dog (with the very same abilities as celebrity Border Collie, Chaser and potentially sharing some of the same gene pool) came to live with us and bring our lives to a whole new level.  In fact, we brought him home on this very day before Halloween, over 2 decades ago....a fluffy black and white ball of sweetness with an amazing love for children-- a trait he never outgrew during his intense and all too brief life.

Everyone who knew Madison still remembers him. He was just one of those special dogs that touched everyone's heart with which he came in contact.

And then we got him a friend who was born with the instinct and love for doing Therapy Dog work.
A professional canine model who lived for playing dress up, Tyler would defy all odds by remaining in full intact costume and head gear throughout the entire neighborhood Halloween rounds. Those were fun times, partly because the true meaning of "neighborhood" was in full display in those days when our subdivision was young, along with its residents.

Parents had just as much fun as their kids. on Halloween. In years the weather allowed, neighbors of all ages filled the sidewalks and front yards with costumed kids, dogs...all enjoying each other's company.  Several dads even dressed up in ballerina tutus,--simultaneously sporting full beards, moustaches and half smoked cigars. What a sight that was! There were bowls of dog treats and water on every block and people who couldn't be home left entire tubs of candy on their porches, trusting greed wouldn't overtake anyone's moral choices.

Madison and Tyler aged...and eventually crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  We added new dogs to our family, none of which ever came close to those two in their love for Halloween dress up and being with kids.

Sadly, Halloween changed one year from that happy holiday into one of tragedy instead.  My new dog (Shady) wound up experiencing a horrific trauma when a sugar-crazed child hit him repeatedly with a toy sword, terrorizing the 6 month old puppy and imprinting a permanent fear of everything that was happening around him that Halloween--from children, adults and other dogs that stared and then moved towards strollers, bikes and all doorways, walls, and anything where something could suddenly appear without warning and harm him--which was basically everything he could and would encounter daily during his entire life. That's the downside of having a super smart dog breed. Even the smell of autumn in the air was imprinted on him as something to fear...and I never managed to reverse that one.

That was the day Halloween stopped being fun....and that memory is burned into my heart forever.  I spent the next 14.5 years trying to undo all that damage created in an instant by one unsupervised small boy who had not been taught kindness to animals and/or had no self control. We never even knew who this child was or where he was from. The irony is that one of my greatest joys is doing Therapy Dog work where my dog can help children learn how to be kind to animals and experience positive interactions with dogs.

When Shady passed over the Rainbow bridge a year and a half ago to join his pal Tyler, a part of me was relieved but a part of me still dreaded Halloween.  Lacy Lulu came into our lives shortly after Shady's passing and she, like Madison, LOVES children.  This year, Halloween should begin to be a different experience from the past 15 years.  Lacy was a very young and very crazy puppy last year but this year she will be ready to start her mission as a Therapy Dog in training when kids come to the door. She will make Halloween fun again for me and for all the neighborhood kids.

A happy and safe Trick or Treating to everyone!  If you are in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fighting Pediatric Cancer at Buffalo Grove Art Fair and Concert October 2-4, 2015

Please join us this weekend at the Buffalo Grove Arts Center (Rt. 83 and Lake Cook Road, just north of the Jewel) for a concert and art fair fundraiser for Pediatric Cancer!

I will be exhibiting items like these so come out and join us starting Friday evening 6 pm......

Here are the details....

Please join 21 fabulous artists at this exciting event raising money for Pediatric Cancer research Oct. 2, 3, and 4.  The show will be open from 6:30-10 on Oct. 2 and 3 and 2-5:30 on Oct. 4.

Now is the right time to think about holiday gifts for friends, family, teachers and maybe even yourself — why not something beautifully made by by a local artist?

Please note you do not have to buy a ticket to the show to attend the art event, but if you'd like to hear some great singers, you can get tickets from


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Welcome to Autumn with a Bittersweet Farewell to Summer...

As summer quietly comes to a sweet end, the days grow shorter, the evenings cooler and the garden starts to fade....

Sounds like the lead into a welcome to fall speech, doesn't it?  Truth is....I'm NOT ready to welcome fall! Chicagoland had such a brutal endless winter, last year, followed by an equally long, extended spring (all the way into July with rainy, cool and gloomy weather). As far as I'm concerned, summer is only halfway done! No fair! I'm not ready for leaves to turn colors and fall.  Nope.  I want those suckers to just stay put and stay green.

But, when I peek at my sad garden, I can see the party is almost over.  No matter where my heart is (and, trust me, it is still heavy and deep into summer), nature has another plan.  The dogs are blowing their coats in preparation for their heavy winter coats to grow in.  The giant Hibiscus are finally bloomed out and their leaves are already starting to change.  And, dislike as I may, the sun now sets by 7 pm....way, way too early for summer but nowhere as early as it will be setting another month from now.


So, I need to tough it up, pull on my big girl winter pants and brace myself for the change. Reluctantly I admit I only used the outside grill once because we just aren't really into that type of food.  When it gets warm, we get lazy and eat cold salad type fare.  We are more the peasant pot of soup type of family. ..which is not a summer choice.  Fall means dusting off the big soup pot, harvesting all the parsley that has recently totally taken over the garden and getting ready for the next big adventure.  And that adventure will most certainly include LOTS of thick, hearty soups! you Summer. with all my heart...miss you madly until next year.  I will rejoice with each and every remaining warm day.  But, I do need to look forward to the next chapter.  So, without further adieu, I have taken a deep breath of this cool, refreshing air and now welcome an old friend back in all her colorful splendor....

Happy Autumn!  Stick around as long as you like and don't let your frigid sister arrive on the scene too soon this year....

And...please take little trip over to my ETSY shop.  I'm in the process of loading fall and winter seasonal items for your viewing and gift buying pleasure.  Many of these items are one-of-a-kind handcrafted pieces that were made by my little ole hands from my little ole original patterns and designs.  Once they are gone...they will be gone.  The name of my ETSY shop is Sweet Petatoes.  Here is the link:

Both photos here show just a couple of the one-of-a-kind items currently listed in my ETSY shop. Oh there are just SO many other item, including scrapbook kits, photos albums, dog and cat notecards from my original realistic line art...and more to come as the weeks progress.

Till next time....

Monday, September 21, 2015

Flutter-by Floral Mixed Media Wall Decor by Gail Green

Mixed Media fun with Linnie Blooms and Faber-Castell!

Linne Blooms has teamed up with Faber Castell for an off-the-charts creative blog hop! Faber Castell’s Gelatos and Mixed Media products are a natural for Linnie Blooms pre-sewn and pre-cut canvas surfaces. Together they combine for some serious fun.  

All the designers on the Linnie Blooms Design team were given different Faber Castell products and/or color sets to use. I was inspired by the soft pastel Gelato palette and how it combined with the stencils. Plus…it is still full blown summer outside so floral inspiration was also all around me!  

Project Level: Intermediate 


Linnie Blooms: Pre-sewn Square Canvas Blank
                         Small Blossom Canvas Shape
                         Sunflower Canvas Shape
                         Leaf Canvas Shape
                         Shabby Trim (Green)
                         Natural Wood Clothes Pin Clips

Faber Castell: 
  Gelatos® Pastel Set (Colors used: Earl Grey, Coconut, Caramel, Watermelon, Guava, Peach, Buttercream, Kiwi) 
  Stampers Big Brush Pens Yellow Set (Colors used: Light Yellow, Cadmium Yellow)
  Whipped Spackle
  Mixed Media Stencils (Stencils used Butterfly and Bricks stencils)

Beacon Adhesives: Gem-tac® Permanent Adhesive

Toner Plastics: 2” length of Fun Wire (Icy Gold)

Miscellaneous: Heat tool or hair dryer
                         Masking tape
                         Printed text scraps from books, newspaper or other uncoated paper source
                         Large pearl, button or gem of your choice.
                         Spray bottle with mister setting


 Place brick stencil over canvas square. Tape in place. Outline brick shapes with Light Yellow pen.  Remove Stencil. Color group areas with Cadmium Yellow.

Lightly mist canvas. Using wet brush, apply Coconut, Caramel, Buttercream and Earl Grey Gelatos to each brick section and blend as desired.  Mist lightly with water as needed. Dry with a heat tool or hair dryer. 

Lightly mist the flowers.  Apply Guava, Peach and Watermelon as desired and blend with brush. Dry completely.

 Cut between petals as shown, 

Glue flower layers together, pinching to shape.

Lightly mist and color leaf with Kiwi and Buttercream; dry. Fold and shape as shown, adding a dab of glue on the reverse side to hold the folds in pace. Dab Earl Grey along edges and central vein.

Your flower and leaf should look like this:

Place Butterfly stencil in corner of canvas square.  Tape in place with masking tape.  Using a trowel or knife, apply Whipped Spackle inside of butterfly shape.

Carefully lift and remove stencil; dry overnight.  

When completely dry, mist lightly, apply Watermelon Gelato and wipe off excess with sponge. Dry

Add Earl Grey Gelato on canvas square to create a shadow around the butterfly.

Hand tear strips of printed text.  Loosely apply Coconut and Caramel Gelato. Add Earl Grey Gelato in the corners where the text will be placed.  Glue the torn text strips in place; dry.

Attach flower and leaf on the canvas, as shown.  Glue pear to center of flower. Shape butterfly antenna and glue in place. Dry completely. Clip clothes pins and Shabby trim in the corners to hang….and enjoy!

Now...go hopping and see all the awesome projects made by the Linnie Blooms and Faber-Castell design team members!  Begin the hop here..... 


Thursday, September 17, 2015

And now it all begins....CHA prep is now officially underway!

As the calendar swiftly rolls out of summer and into fall, it signals the sweet anticipation of THE most incredible yearly event.  The BIG Craft and Hobby industry Mega show...a trade show (CHA) like no other with the most incredible creative forces on the planet gathered together under one roof.

I am a professional Designer in the industry and like most of my fellow designer members, look forward to this gathering with great excitement!  And, since I am also teaching TWO big workshops up to 50 people per workshop), I will also be up to my eyeballs getting ready!

Now is only the beginning of CHA show prep as I begin the arduous and detailed process of getting my workshop materials figured out and ordered.  They need to arrive early enough so I have ample time to prepare the kits and get everything on time. But, with a puppy here that still chews on items unattended within her reach, they can't get here too soon because I won't have adequate places to store them until I clear off from all the summer activities. as I get ready to add items to my ETSY shop   Whew...I'm always running out of surfaces and time.  Not sure why exactly, although I understand from other crafty friends, it seems to run in creative circles.

And, if you are in  holiday mood, feel free to visit my ETSY shop 
Lots of awesome pet items featuring my original Sweet PETatoes art!

On another note...another blog hop starts next week!  This time we feature Linnie Blooms and Faber-Castell products.  This should be a GREAT hop!  Stay tuned for more information via Facebook.....

And, as always, leave a comment below.....

Monday, September 7, 2015

Celebrating Labor Day in Style....working....

Hope your Labor Day weekend was a great one!  IMHO, it doesn't matter what you do as much as doing what you enjoy.  And, since I love crafting, creative play AND meeting publishing deadlines, it is always a good day when I can say I'm almost ready to turn in a manuscript (complete with cropped/adjusted photos)...on time.

Besides, the holiday began with vertigo.  Yep, vertigo, my favorite debilitating condition that renders sleep or movement impossible.  Plus it was too hot this weekend to want to be involved with all the outdoor activities I would have enjoyed.  Sad I didn't get to the Renaissance Faire again this year but, frankly, the season is way too short and overlaps other summer commitments and extreme heat.  Too much traffic to drive into the city to see that stinkin" cute grandbaby and family.  Totally over-the-top decibel level at local festivals for a sound sensitive person like me.

So it was basically easier (and much cooler and quieter) to remain inside getting all inky as I progressed through the projects and then tackled the easy part--writing a feature article with full-on step by step instructions.

Fortunately the vertigo is currently under control so I actually slept the past two nights...two in a row...yay!  Our unseasonably hot temps will return to a more comfortable level in a day or so, making outdoor activities fun again.  Unfortunately, the Renaissance Faire is now officially ended so I will just have to hope again for next year.

Truth is, I don't really like celebrating the end of summer.  Ok, I said it. That is probably the real reason I hide away from even acknowledging this holiday.  Labor Day is symbolic for the end of summer and the anticipation of all that is coming in the form of cold, dry air,  snow,  ice and subzero temps that make outdoor activities uncomfortable and downright impossible.   So I pretended this weekend was just another hot summer weekend where I could stay indoors during the hot parts and create away. Tomorrow is back to routine...editing photos and turning an article in (happy dance!)....and being thankful I can choose to work or not work on a holiday weekend.  There are many who don't have those choices....

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Ollie, poor Ollie is stressed to the max with his computer office being changed, power/USB cords (aka SNAKES) moving all over the place on the weekend,  furniture moving itself around and his cage rotated 90 degrees to accommodate the new cross platform set up in here.  It is quite cozy however.  He still sits right  near me and can see the monitors and all the pretty colors going on.

As soon as I get the basics down, I'll be moving into PS Creative Cloud 15 and downloading my trial version....   Can't wait to see all the new features....