Badass Femmes – To the Front

Hi again! I’m taking another Dawn Sokol workshop! It’s called Badass Femmes and she’s doing profiles and prompts based on some seriously badass women in history. So far, she’s done people like Joan Jett and RBG. I love this class.

One of the people she talked about is Kathleen Hanna, who started the band Bikini Kill because she didn’t like the violence in mosh pits and called to the guys to let “girls to the front”. That’s what inspired this page spread.

Jingle Journal Pages (Batch 1)

I had intended to make something or work on my journal during this unseemly hour of the morning, but instead, I am sharing some work I’ve been doing for the past week or two. Dawn Sokol runs a class each holiday season that focuses on journaling to help process the holiday season and winter. It’s a great class that I’ve taken a couple of times in the past. Here is some of my work, along with some works in progress, that I have so far.

It’s a homemade book, set up in the style of a travelers notebook, using elastic bands to keep in each signature. The pages are made of old cereal boxes, magazine pages, old Christmas cards, cardstock, regular ole white heavyweight paper, and more. Some of these pages are still works in progress, mostly needing some doodling and journaling. #JingleJournal2021

Time with Mindy Lacefield

This painting is inspired by my daughter. It’s still a work in progress, as I’d like to turn her shirt into a Star Wars t-shirt. Otherwise, I think this one is finished.

This past weekend was glorious! I went down to Colorado Springs with some of my arty friends (Lisa, Susan and Karen) so that we could learn from the extremely talented and whimsical Mindy Lacefield. The class was called Inner Radiant Child and boy, did we do some child-like and wonderful work.

WIP: This is also my daughter, wearing her Elsa dress and Ariel tiara. This one needs a lot more work than the first, but I love where it's going.
WIP: This is also my daughter, wearing her Elsa dress and Ariel tiara. This one needs a lot more work than the first, but I love where it’s going.

Mindy taught us her style of painting and it always amazes me that even though we were all doing the same thing as the teacher (little girls with eyes set wide apart in a primitive style), with the same tools and methods, we all created our own work. I love that about these workshops. I was also impressed that I really liked all of the women in the workshop. Sometimes there are one or two people who might rub you the wrong way, but I was happy to spend time and share with these ladies.

The most amazing part of the workshop was on the second day, when Mindy had us do a writing exercise in which we wrote a note to our younger selves. I wrote to my 7-year-old self, and it went like this:

Hey Tracey — you are such a lovely young lady, always taking care of everyone around you. But please remember that you need to take care of yourself first. Otherwise, you’ll have less to give (and I know how you like to give.) Also, everything doesn’t have to be perfect. Have no fear. You are building up such strength and it will serve you well in the future. Don’t be too bogged down in the shoulds as much as the things you want to do. What’s the worst that can happen?

After we wrote, we all shared and it was the most moving hour I’ve spent in a long, long time. It shocked me how much we all had in common and I wondered if all women have an inner child who is so bruised and battered. I feel as if what I wrote to myself is something I need to read daily as a reminder.

So, here’s the WIP that arose from that meditation — this is me, playing with a dollhouse my grampa had made for me. It was basically a bunch of wooden crates, nailed together and painted with fluorescent orange paint, with little scraps of carpet on the “floors”.


I’m so happy with the work I did. It was good to have permission to play and to just be myself, both in person and on the canvas.

The suite I shared with Lisa, Susan and Karen was very cool. It was great to hang out in the evenings and make art and listen to music and just be silly together. I also loved the one-on-one time in the car with Lisa, who I’ve met before, but hadn’t spent much time with. I love making new friends!

Next up: Kelly Kilmer is in town and teaching the 26th through the 28th. I can’t wait to get into a classroom setting again and work my journals.

So excited: Michael deMeng workshops this weekend!

Something akin to a pre-Christmas miracle has occurred. I, along with a handful of my arty pals, am heading down to Colorado Springs this weekend for two Michael deMeng workshops. On Saturday, we’ll be making shrines and Sunday’s class is the famous Pez dispenser-altering class. It’s a little miracle because it’s affordable ($25 per class. No, I didn’t leave off a zero.) and there are enough of us going that the hotel rooms won’t cost a ton. I’m riding down with Lynn and we’ll meet up with Susan and Karen. I love taking workshops with my arty girls! Bonus — I get to see a couple of my Zoner friends and their offspring who all live down there.

So, I’m gathering my supplies and I find that it’s a daunting process. I don’t want to take too much, but I don’t want to be caught without something I’ll really need. When I take workshops in Fort Collins, it’s easy to dash home to grab something I really need (or call Tim to fetch it for me), but being three hours from my studio will be a challenge. So far, here’s the stuff I’m bringing. I believe the garden gnome that Dougie busted is going to be the central character in my shrine. I’m so glad I remembered him because he’s the perfect little dude to enshrine, don’t you think?


I don’t have a real plan. I’m just grabbing handfuls of screws, nails, rusty oddities, broken jewelry, pieces of glass, Scrabble tiles, little winged babies, tiny burned-out light bulbs and whatever else strikes my fancy as I go through my studio. It’s quite fun. I have always been a saver, and I have a lot of odd things that I’ve hoarded over the years, or that my grandma and mom have saved (and I have acquired), so when the shrine is completed, it will be an Ode to Those Who Save Things Because They Never Know, It Could Be Useful Later.

I’ll post to Flickr all weekend, snapping shots of whatever is in progress, so you can keep an eye on the madness that will surely ensue.

new venture:

Things have been busy around here. Still redoing the studio. Still building websites. Still have the foster kids. I suppose I should call all of that a win.

And as if that all wasn’t enough, I’ve begun a new venture:

Here’s what happened:

My local art pal, Lynn, recently set up her basement so that all of the local art girls could go and hang out, at least once a month, and make art together. Nothing formal. We just bring projects and hang out together while we work. We also bring snacks. It’s pretty fun!

alwaysbcreating.comWe all got to talking about bringing in art instructors and hosting them for weekend-long workshops, just like Christine of The Artists’ Nook used to do. I had been looking into starting a similar project of my own and thought I could organize the logistics and see how it goes. Around the same time, Kelly Kilmer and I talked about getting her back to the area to teach, especially because her classes that were scheduled last summer didn’t end up happening.

When all of the pieces come together like that, it’s a sign, so was born. Check it out, either on the website or on facebook, even if you’re not local. There will be something there for everyone as time goes by. Thanks for checking it out!


whee! new sharpies!

There is Nothing Left For Me Here
There is Nothing Left For Me Here

As you know, I am a Sharpie fiend. FIEND, I tell you! I’ve been searching for over a month for the new Sharpie Stained fabric pens and finally found some today at Office Max. What made today a banner day, though, was finding out that they were having a buy 2, get 1 free sale. I picked out a set of Sharpie 80s Glam Ultra Fine pens, since I don’t have those colors yet. Then I was torn for the last set of pens…should I replace my dying black big thick gargantuan markers, or try something new? “New” won out and I picked up 2-pack of fine black retractable Sharpie pens. JOY! Tonight will be a feast for my journal, during sofa time, with me and my new pens.

It’s the little things, folks.

In other news, tomorrow night, 9/2, is Fort Collins Gallery Walk. If you are in the area, please stop by Poudre Studio Artists and Galleries! You can find me in studio 211, working on some project or another or flitting about, visiting with our guests. We have an exhibit in our gallery this month called Recycle It!, featuring artwork made with 75% recycled materials. I have three collages in the show, one of which is shown here (click for a larger view).

If you like garage sales, our studio artists are having an indoor “sidewalk” sale during gallery walk, too. I’ve got 50% off all arty supplies and even some discounts going deeper than that! I’ve also previewed some of the other artists’ sales and boy, you don’t want to miss it! I’m just sayin’! Boyer’s Coffee has been kind enough to sponsor the evening by coming out and serving free coffee to our visitors, so I think you’ll find at least one of your vices covered when you stop by.

So, it’s September, everybody. What neat projects do you have planned for when the weather eventually cools down? Need some inspiration? Check out my new friend Heather’s blog. She’s such a clever gal. I think you’ll like what she has to share with you!

Don’t forget about my upcoming Composition Book Journaling and Reclaimed Envelope Book classes, on October 1 and September 17, respectively. Email me to sign up — it’s guaranteed to be a great time for all! If you register by September 7, you can take $10 off the class fee.

upcoming workshops: you asked for them and here they are!

I have finally scheduled two, count ’em, TWO workshops!

On Saturday, September 17, we’ll do Return to Sender – A Reclaimed Envelope Book

On Saturday, October 1, it’s Composition Book Journaling – This is Your Life

Each class is scheduled 10 am – 4 pm with a half hour break for lunch (bring your own!). Classes are $100 and include all supplies. I will, of course, have you bring your own scissors, favorite glue and a few other staples, but everything else you need for the classes will be supplied. Visit each class page to see the details. Each student also gets a goody bag of supplies and ephemera to take home (if you don’t use it all up in class, that is!).

To make the deal even sweeter, if you register before September 7, take $10 off the class fee. Seriously!

I need 3 people to make each class go; classes max out at 8 students. If we get too many registrants, we’ll schedule a second session. To register, email me at

I am SO excited to share these classes with you! Here’s the big thing to remember: You do not need to be an artist to take these classes. Each of us has lots of creativity built right into us. It’s the stuff that helps you figure out what to make for dinner tonight and how to coordinate carpools and get creative with $10 at the grocery store. You have it in you. Let me help you bring it out to make something gorgeous and tangible.

Snowstorm inspires new workshop: Christmas Tree Screen Ornament

our "garden" gate
our "garden" gate

Did you hear that sound? It’s the sound of snow falling…which it’s been doing since late last night. Tim works at Colorado State University and was home by 1:30 because they closed early. It’s so pretty, even though it’s the thick, wet icky snow like I used to enjoy in NJ, not the light powdery fun stuff we usually get. Either way, it’s hard to be a sole proprietor with an office in the basement on a snow day like this. Which leads me to procrastination.

Despite my very long task list, including stuff for eeep! productions and my clients, for PRAC, for my studio and Sunshine Factory, for Fort Collins Gallery Walk, for my art and for my little family, I still find time to procrastinate. And this leads me to get stressed.

When I get really stressed, I procrastinate (see the vicious circle?) by playing games on Facebook, taking a nap, watching tv or reorganizing something. It’s that old frozen fear we all get when we’re unsure the task at hand will be done correctly, will turn out as we planned, or will even get finished. It’s exhausting. Not to mention unproductive.

So I took a quick break and opened the new issue of Somerset Studio. I read Quinn McDonald‘s Business of Art column — is it serendipity that her topic this issue is STRESS? Quinn reminded me that all of those things I do to relieve the stress or to deal with it are only making it worse. It was quite the wakeup call, so I decided to start writing for my blog. Look at me — productive, not stressed and doing something I actually enjoy. Which (finally!) brings me to the point of this entry:

Today I was setting up a class schedule for my recycled envelope books class and for the composition book journaling workshop that I’ve mentioned to a number of you. I intend to publish that schedule this weekend, after many weeks (ok, months) of fear-based procrastination. While I was working on this, I realized that I had no holiday-related classes to offer!

Christmas Tree Screen Ornament -- oh, so pretty!

Now that’s it’s snowing, I am SO in the Christmas spirit. And with the economy being the way it is, I know most of my gifts this year will be homemade. What better way to show someone you love him or her than by making a wee, lovely giftie?

Enter the Christmas Tree Screen Ornament! To the right is a sample of the ornament. Yours will look different, of course, but the base will be a small framed screen (3×3 or 4×4) and we’ll paint the frame and attach any number of cool doodads and/or images to the screen itself.

Class details:

  • The class will be 3 hours
  • Cost will be $60 and will include all supplies (you bring your basic tool kit, of course!)
  • You will leave with at least 1 finished ornament and the screen and doodads to make one more (additional kits will be available for purchase seperately)

Now, what I need to know from you is if this class sounds appealing and if so, what day works best for you. There’s a poll over on the right for you to respond to. This class is only open to local folks right now. Take the poll or email me or comment here and let me know your interest level by the end of the week, so I can be sure to order enough supplies and schedule the class according to YOUR needs.

Art Unraveled Recap

The Littlest Rose
5 3/4 x 7 1/2 on watercolor paper.
Bird Lady
Acrylic, collage, wax on wood board.

Another Dream in Which I Am Flying
Acrylic on canvas board.
Quilted Laptop Bag

I’ve finally had a few minutes to upload some of my artwork from Art Unraveled. It’s always so fun to take a breath and a step back and then look at the work with new eyes. I could tell you everything I hate about these pieces, but I won’t. I will tell you how they came about and what I do like about them, though! Some of them are finished, some may get a little more work — some detailing, or will become part of another piece of artwork. (Yes, that means I may tear things up. It’s ok, I’m brave!) Some of it is here, and the rest is on my Flickr site. You can click on these to go there and see them larger, with descriptions.

Art Unraveled was great. I had missed it last year, so I tried to make sure I really enjoyed it this year. It was so wonderful to

  • see my friends
  • take a vacation (mostly — I did do some web work while I was there)
  • make art and relax.
  • I made new friends, too, which was extra cool.

I didn’t really stretch myself in terms of the classes I took, but it was nice to have the extra time to try new things and keep working on the skills I’m trying to improve.

I stayed at the hotel with Leighanna, with the intention to move to Fran’s house on Sunday. That was thwarted when Fran’s husband got sick with a stomach thing and when my doctor called to inform me that my ankle was fractured (something I wish that she told me before I left for AZ!). So, the trip was a little more expensive than I would have liked, but I really do love staying at hotels. I love the soft sheets, especially. And this hotel has the most comfortable pillow top mattresses and soft pillows, I have never been so happy and willing to go to sleep at night! I also love the happy hour and the little kitchen area in the room, where we had a little version of Trader Joe’s to munch on for lunches and snacks. 🙂

Katie Kendrick taught us how to look at other artwork and use it as inspiration. Since I don’t do a lot of faces and people, I was extremely frustrated with my first attempt, The Blessed Mother is Laughing at Me! I ended up doing some intuitive painting and the other two I did in this class were a little more satisfying.

From Alex Shur, I learned how to use tube watercolors and assorted non-traditional techniques I can use with them. This appealed to me greatly, because I don’t ever intend to follow many rules in my art. I’ve used pan watercolors since college, so stepping up to tube colors was really cool. I painted a lot in this class and have a lot of works in progress as well as pieces to use in other work.

From Traci Bautista, I learned her method for developing project ideas. This was extremely reassuring, because I already do a lot of what she showed us. Neat!

Judy Wise‘s class was GREAT — the Bird Lady (above) is from that class. Judy is a very good teacher and she showed us her techniques for using collage, paint and wax to create depth and really interesting compositions. At the last minute, I decided to add one more class, since I didn’t feel stretched.

Monday night, I took a Crafty Chica (Kathy Cano Murillo) class. I had seen my friend Joanne’s bag, which she made after taking a similar class with CC. I sew a little, but still have some fear of sewing through my finger. It’s great to learn from Kathy because she just eyeballs it and doesn’t use a pattern and “figures things out.” I admire her so much!

OH! I got to meet Joanne, who is just wonderful and was so much fun to hang out with. She makes me LAUGH! I’m so happy about how much time she and Fran and I got to spend together.

And on Saturday night, we watched the 1000 Journals movie, and had a Q&A session with Someguy, the dude who got that whole thing in motion. The movie was a little long, but was really interesting. Then we had a chance to put our own marks in a few of the journals he brought with him. I decided it was a good opportunity to connect my Wreck This Journal experience with AU and 1000 Journals and I brought a page from Wreck This Journal, did some stuff to it and pasted it in. If you ever get 1000 Journals book #742, I’m in there.

1000 Journals cover My page in journal #742
Unfortunately, my Palm Centro camera isn’t that great and we can’t read this now. But it was stamped in each of the books and shows the journal number Cover of the book I worked in. My page that I glued into the book and doodled on.

Kelly Kilmer got me drunk on art this weekend…

…and today I have a wicked art hangover!

This past weekend, I took 5 mixed media workshops from Kelly Kilmer, who was the visiting artist at The Artists’ Nook this month. There are no words to describe how much I love Kelly’s classes and how much I get out of her workshops. Every time I take a Kelly class, I am able to play, experiment and I always get new ideas, either from her, or from expanding on something she or another student said.

This weekend’s highlights, not in any particular order:

  • Seeing Kelly and learning from her. She is so creative, free and amazingly supportive.
  • Getting to know Allyson better, and getting an awesome ego boost from her. *waves and paints Allyson’s hand*
  • Learning more about layering and color mixing and composition.
  • Realizing that some of the crazy stuff I do in my journals isn’t as crazy as I thought!
  • Seeing my old pals, like Susan and Marcy and Karen and Terry, who I haven’t seen in a long time. I really admire the talent of these ladies!
  • Meeting new people! Yes, I’m talking about you, you Ladies From Parker!
  • Three full days of making art and playing. Heaven.

Last night, I was so amped up, I made 14 of the little paper journals while we watched tv. I love them.

I think my favorite book was the Reclaimed book. I love the idea of taking old books, gutting them, and making new pages for them.


Clicking on any of the photos below should take you to my Flickr set of photos from this weekend. I should have taken more of the process, but I was too absorbed to even think of that.

Transcribed Altered Photos Revisited

Triptych Book Swatches: Little Paper Books

Reclaimed: An Altered Artist’s Book