Truett’s Birthday Book

My friend Truett, (she also happens to be my son’s, Corey’s girlfriend), turned 19 a few weeks ago. I have known Truett about 2 years, I first saw her in a Lincoln High School Production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” She played Judas, and in her solo song, she sang like no other I have ever heard. Voice of an angel. She will go far with that voice. Even now, two years later, when I hear her sing, I am reduced to a puddle of tears. I have never heard a voice that beautiful. Really. And I’ll get to say I knew her when.

tru copy

Anyway, I wanted to make her something for her birthday, and I had staged a photo shoot with her and Corey a while back, with their hands touching each other, kind of like Michelangelo’s Hand of God giving life to Adam, from the Sistine Chapel. I knew I wanted to do a piece with this photo of their hands, but wasn’t sure what, but the inspiration came as Truett’s birthday approached.

Michelangelo's Hand of God Giving Life to Adam

Here’s the photo I started with.


Grabbed one of my many antique books, choose a paper, some lace , a frame,  that would work with what I had in mind.

The ElementsCarved the niche, gilded the sides, started dropping, gluing, and affixing the elements.


I inserted vintage heart buttons and cabochons into the framed niche and enclosed with a transparent surface. They move around, like the little shaky games we played with as kids.  My artist friend Geoffrey commented that the shaky hearts were like those in a relationship, sometimes they stand still, strong and stable and other times they are shaky and turbulent. I love that analogy.
The Finished Cover

I used an antique vial of green pigment paint powder, sealed it up, and pasted the dictionary definition “amore” on the front of the vial. Anchored the vial to the book cover, attached the ribbon closure and vintage French rhinestone buckle- and it is just about done.

Side view

But I am not done. I can’t just put this in a plastic zip lock bag and give this to her, can I? No. Assolutamente not.  So, being the compulsive, obsessive perfectionist that I am, I proceed to sew a pouch/cover out of a few the of Cisco sample sofa fabrics that I inherited when we closed Urbino. I have about 46 drawers full of every kind of fabric imaginable, all in tidy 10×12 pieces, great for this kind of work.

11Book Pouch

In the making of this piece, I wanted to convey the strong love that Truett and Corey share. The vibe washed over me and I was struck with how fortunate they both are to have experienced this big love at such young ages.  They are wonderful and I have been honored and blessed to be a witness to their continual evolution with each other and within themselves.


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Gratitude Journal

Last year I read Melody Beattie’s Make Miracles in 40 Days, and actually did it, kept a gratitude journal for 40 days, not skipping a single day.  I went on to have one of the most incredible months of my life. I have since fallen off that track, a year later, but been “thinking” about doing it again.  (Thinking gets me into trouble. Right action is where its at for me)…

So acting instead, I flew into the studio, with only a few hours to spare, and created an gratitude journal by collaging the cover of one of the 34 blank Moleskin journals I have lying around. (I bought a ton of Moleskins on sale, “thinking” I was going to be art journaling everyday for the rest of my life. Haven’t quite gotten there yet.In any event, I only had a few hours to make this, and for me to start this journal, I wanted a cool cover  that would be inspirational to look at everyday.

A few hours is sometimes all it takes, I work best under the gun.

Now a week later, I have not skipped a day of writing in my sweet little journal, 10 minutes each day, all that I am grateful for, all the good stuff and all the stuff that I don’t like as well, because I know that it is there to teach me something…and I have to say, some things are shifting. Coincidence? Hmmm…who knows..doesn’t matter, I’m liking the results.
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The Next Book

I was so inspired by actually STARTING this blog and getting so much  support and encouragement, thank you everyone!

I then promptly began work on another book, this one was for a fundraising gala,  Living Yoga.

My friend Amy,  the executive director of this wonderful non-profit had asked me to create an art piece for their auction.  

Living Yoga is an organization that serves adults and teens in prisons and drug/alcohol rehabilitation centers by bring yoga programs and classes to these populations and making phenomenal impacts on peoples lives. I have been involved with this organization for a while now, and I love the work this group does,  it was an honor to create something for their fundraising efforts.

In my usual fashion, I spent days and days locked in the studio, gluing, cutting, pasting, gold leafing, pounding, sewing,,,heaven indeed.  I started with an antique Paris guide book, ripping out pages, creating a niche in the center for the “reliquary.”

Gold leaf, antique frame, antique postcard, antique Paris souvenir spoon; all found in the Clignancourt Flea Market in Paris.

Not so tidy when I work, like a bomb went off.

Days and days of this, lots of Caffe Umbria coffee (thank god for electric kettles and Melita drip filters) My poor kid Corey, may have suffered for a minute or so, living on burritos and take out food and a bitchy mom.

 Two hours before the event, obsessively sewing a sachel/purse pouch to house the book.

It’s all about the presentation.

And voila’

or in my more proficient language, Italian, ECCOLO- (Here is is-)

Leaving many blank spaces and pages so that this book CAN be used as a journal or travel journal.
And finally…if you aren’t asleep or left the blog yet:
The Paris Reliquary

There are little vintage glass hearts and stars floating under the transparency, like the shaky games we used to play when we were kids.


n. pl. rel·i·quar·ies A receptacle, such as a coffer or shrine, for keeping or displaying sacred relics.

There aren’t any sacred relics in this reliquary unless you consider the Eiffel Tower as sacred , which I think it is in a sense.  At least to me.

I finished the book and photographed it about 1/2 hour before the event….in  my typical at the last minute craziness.
Ok,  little book, ready? We’re late, get in your sachet and lets go to your debut.
And here we are.
The Living Yoga event was great, very successful, and my dear little Paris book found a great new home with Kelly, a lovely woman who I recently had the pleasure of meeting. She loves France, speaks French, and so, this little book belongs with her…
And with that, I ponder what the next book should be…done with France for a bit.
More specifically-
Firenze-the love of my life?
Yup, think so…the wheels are already spinning.
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Somewhere, anywhere, something, anything, it doesn’t matter. Just start.

I  used to have a blog. It was a lovely little blog and I enjoyed it. Then Facebook came along and I got lazy and stopped posting on my blog, using Facebook as a blog. Which was fine for a while, but then it wasn’t. I have wanted to get this new blog up and running for oh, maybe a year now. I designed it and everything. And it has taken me a year to do the first post.  I am finally so sick of procrastinating, torturing myself, THINKING about what the perfect post would be….I just don’t care anymore.

I’m just going to start right here and now.


I played in the studio last week and created an altered book for my friend, Susie’s 60th birthday. I took a sweet pocket size French-English vintage dictionary, and made her an altered book that commemorated our shared family’s trip together in Paris 10 years ago.

My favorite part of making these books: cutting out the reliquary type of niche in the book and making a “shadowbox” within the book.  Vintage Eiffel Tower postcard, vintage bakelite heart, cheesy 99 cent Goodwill Frame aged/ “UGED” using the Michael De Meng technique of aging/antiquing anything at all.



That wasn’t so bad. THAT is what I have been agonizing over????

It was actually pretty fun. Really fun.

I think I’m hooked. All or nothing.  Here we go.

Welcome back to blogland.

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