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Sunday, December 25, 2011


Sharing a couple vintage themed ATCs I did in October. Do you like them? I do like vintage.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Did this back in August. Guess I'm a bit behind in posting things. Lots of classes I need to post too, but when it comes to doing or posting, I just think the "doing" has to take priority. Hope you all aren't too crazy with Christmas preparations in the west. Here in Ukraine that is all much more relaxed. No big rush of buying expensive "stuff." Remember, take time and breathe deep.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


This fun piece was done for a sweet young gal who loves castles. It was fun to do, but long process of applying glitter and letting it dry, one section at a time. I don't usually do things like this, but sometimes the recipient is reason enough. Click on the picture to enlarge so you can see the sparkly detail.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Not long ago I had the privilege of doing a class for 13 year old Marina's birthday party. Thanks to the Mark and Rhonda Kilsby family of Texas I had Christmas bracelets that told the nativity story. As you can see from the pictures we had all ages get in on it, from little ones to some of the moms.
Even this little guy wanted to make a one, but needed a little help from Papa.
That's me in the green giving instructions (in Russian). We all had a great time. I love doing this with kids. Their joy in creating is my delight.

Altered Bottle

My first attempt at a painted altered bottle. This one shipped to America and made it in one piece.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Many of you know that I have a ministry of teaching arts and crafts here in Ukraine. We have been here for 17 years, but I have only done this the past 13 or so years. It started with my sitting in church not fully understanding the Russian language yet, when the light bulb came on one day, I thought I could do crafts with the kids. I never have been good at sitting for long periods so this was perfect. Now I speak the language well enough to instruct them and communicate most of what I need. The shot below is some of the little ones with the proud pieces they will take home. I just love it when they are so happy about what they created. It is my joy to share this with them.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


A little piece I did not too long ago. I love doing things with birds. One of God's marvelous creatures. This is a 3x5 inch "Skinny" as they call that size. The buttons are Mother-of-Pearl and the lace is vintage from my collection started back in the 60's. The little journal box says, "The sound of birds stops the noise in my mind" by Carly Simon. This little bird flew overseas.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Sometimes missionary families are left feeling a bit "out-of-the-loop," in regard to their home culture. I mean, we are in our 18th year of living overseas so despite internet, some things just slip by. Only today I was visiting another blog and she had this musical piece by TSO. It brought back memories of our 2007/08 furlough when we were first introduced to this fab music. We were in a small Texas town going to our hotel room when we came upon this wonderful display of Christmas trees and what looked like something out of Disneyland with lots of figures and light up displays. As we marveled the trees and figures just pulsed in rotation to this wonderful music which we only later found out was TSO. We could have stayed for hours, but alas we had an early morning church visit. So enjoy.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Sharing some of the beauty of Ukraine. These shots were from out trip to the western mountainous region this fall. We were there on a prayer retreat where I also led craft classes. It was a blessed time.

Crystal clear water.

Riches of nature.

Friday, November 18, 2011


While I don't particularly believe in Indian mythology, there is an excellent analogy in this story of the battle we all face daily inside of us between good and evil. Share it with your children. Which one are you feeding? Don't leave it to chance.

Monday, November 14, 2011


This is what the trees looked like two weeks ago, but in that time we've lost all the leaves, we've had a hard freeze and this past weekend we had snow. Am I ready for snow? This is the season that makes me very happy for a warm house and pot that makes me hot tea or coffee.


Having a coffee date out with my sweetheart in Ukraine. They do it up pretty here and oh so tasty.

Friday, November 11, 2011


My husband's Aunt Flo sent us this picture of his mom who passed away in 2001. It is such a lovely picture of a young girl. As I was rummaging through my box of frames in the garage I came across this gem I"d forgotten about. I'd gotten it from my dad years ago. I thought it was so perfect for the vintage picture. I just love how the two go together. Thanks Aunt Flo.

Crackle Art

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Sharing a little vintage ATC (artist trading card) I did not long ago and sent off in the mail as a swap with someone else. I love being able to send miniature pieces of art all around the world. And to receive them also. I have a growing collection of vintage style ATCs. The added benefit is that when I mail them I can also send a bit of encouragement to the recipient. I have been graced with such blessings in my life that I just want to share that around. Life is short and the world is tough so we really could all use a bit of encouragement. You never know the burdens another is carrying so approach everyone with a kindness of heart and a soft word. Treat everyone like he's carrying a great tragedy. Chances are he is, despite the happy face.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Take a walk with me in my garden. This was shot in September. Now we've had many hard frosts so mostly the leaves are all on the ground. Nights are below freezing, days are in the 40's, sometimes close to 50(F) degrees, but that won't last long.

Sharing with you a heart I found in the garden. It was the inside of a fading rose and I thought it was so beautiful. I often notice as the roses start to fade and they lose their strength and their vibrancy, there still remains a beauty that catches the eye. I think that is how it should be in the Christian life. As we age, as we lose our youthful strength and energy, we have not the beauty we once had. Nonetheless,there should still remain a beauty from below the surface that catches people, that draws them to the Author of all beauty....a peace and a gentleness that shows we know Him and we are close to Him. I hope as I age, I will exhibit the beauty of the rose that shows others the love of our Creator. To Him be the glory.

Tim Coffey Video - Christmas Cards from Cardboard Box

I love how this guy recycles everything and saves me money.

Monday, October 24, 2011


This is an art journal page I've been working on for some time. These things go in stages of coming back to before one finally comes to a sense of completion. The story behind this page has to do with a trip to Israel we made in June. I saw so many of these ladies all covered up in 90 to 100 degree weather outside walking. It certainly was an experience of another culture. The eyes on the right page I drew in my travel journal while there. Click on the picture to enlarge for much more detail. The dried flowers are from Israel and the two cards are scenes from there.

This post is linked to "Artists in Blogland" so if you click on the title above you can go see lots more fine artistic endeavors by a variety of artists.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Do we think of these rocks as vintage? We were in western Ukraine for a prayer retreat this past week led by my husband Jeff. We visited this lovely waterfall as one of our mini-excursions. The area is called the Carpathian Mountains, but I would liken them to foothills of say Arkansas. They are tall enough to ski, but not like the Rocky Mountains. It was beautiful with fall leaves of yellow, orange and even some red. We also got to experience our first snow storm of the season as we left the mountains on Saturday.

Vintage view looking down into a country village from a hilltop.

What a relic this was. The Ukrainians think nothing of this old motorcycle, but I thought it was so cool with it's sidecar revamped for hauling. The Ukrainians are the most practical and innovative people. I am often amazed.

This old bridge was rich with beautiful grain in the heavy boards and rusty framework.

Monday, October 10, 2011

You're going to love this technique and so very easy.

Kid's Klub in Bucha, Ukraine

For some months I've been talking to our Sunday School director about starting a Saturday kid's activity so we could bring in more children from our town who are not in church. We did our first Kid's Klub and had 13 children. It was a start and I know it will grow. We did songs and crafts, but starting next month we will also offer English classes so that will bring more out. You can see from these pictures we had a real range in age. Please be in prayer for this monthly children's ministry. My thanks to Marge Naperski who sent the lovely fish pictures for this project. The kids loved it. And send us your buttons and old jewelry for craft projects. Grateful for you, Coleen

Monday, October 3, 2011


I posted this picture not so long ago thinking I was finished with it. Then, after a little time I realized it needed something more. So here goes again. I"m linking this to Dawn Anthony's "Journal Journey." You can see her blog by clicking on the title above. She's an art journaler too and does a monthly challenge you might want to consider. Let me know what you think. Your encouragement blesses me so. Coleen

Saturday, October 1, 2011


These are some altered dominoes I did not long ago. Not only that, but they are 1/2 size dominoes which makes them real small to work with. I've wanted to try them for a long time since my friend Shallale in Haiti sent me one she did. The lower one is covered with Diamond Glaze which gives it the deep embedded look. Becky sent me that. I used E-6000 glue provided by my friend Cindy. I am blessed with friends who are generous. And each time I try something new, it has the potential of turning into a project to do with the kids or ladies in Ukraine. Click on the the title to go visit Artists in Blogland.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


This is one of my new favorites. Inadvertantly directed to me by my pal Lindy. It is so cute you're going to love it too. You can find more of his music on YouTube. This guy is great. Where have I been?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Here's a very interesting letter I received today from Robert Genn of "Twice Weekly Letter (rgenn@saraphina.com). Just wanted to share it with you. He said I could. It's worth the 2 minutes.

Learning to draw again

September 27, 2011

Dear Coleen,

When I was a kid I was pretty good at drawing. By the time I got to art school some people thought I was a certified drawing genius. Trouble was, I solved all my problems with my drawing--to the detriment of composition, colour and other stuff that should have held my attention. Feeling I had to raise my standards, I decided to drop drawing altogether and try to build some other facilities. It was tough. For about six months I essentially disabled drawing and kicked my drawing board down the road.

To this day I seldom draw. I go right to the other stuff.

Psychoanalyst Dr. Norman Doidge's remarkable book, The Brain That Changes Itself is full of stories showing how the human brain can be rewired. Doidge is of the "neuroplasticity" school of brain science. He doesn't think, for example, that there is one part of the brain that masters drawing and keeps it there. Like a giant hard drive on a computer that's capable of filing stuff randomly, any part of the brain, including left and right hemispheres, can learn and unlearn.

In one story, after a devastating stroke a man was able to gradually regain the use of a paralyzed leg. During his recovery he had come to rely more and more on his good leg. It was part of his process to mentally disable the good leg so the bad leg could begin again.

Psychiatrists note that during the sticky business of lovers parting, it's necessary for them to "disable" the forsaken one in order to begin to love someone else. This doesn't mean trashing the other, but the old has to be properly archived before new love-data can be entered. It's thought that those who don't need to do this didn't love in the first place.

Disabled neural paths can be difficult to regenerate--particularly as you grow older. But it does happen, and it's no miracle. It takes character and focus. You can teach old dogs new tricks--and get them to relearn old tricks they've forgotten. Artists frequently report the loss of drawing ability when they neglect drawing for even short periods of time. Since my heady, distracted days in art school, I've noticed a decline in my drawing ability. Just another case of "use it or lose it"?

Best regards,


PS: "Neuroplasticity contributes to both the constrained and unconstrained aspects of our nature. It renders our brains not only more resourceful, but also more vulnerable to outside influences." (Norman Doidge)

Esoterica: Canadian painter John Newman suffered a stroke that caused Transverse Myelitus, permanently disabling the right side of his body. His right-handedness appeared to condemn him to no more painting. But with application and focus John was able to gain nearly similar dexterity with his left hand and has subsequently had lefty sell-out shows. FYI, we've put a selection of John Newman's left- and right-handed work at the top of the current clickback.

old dogs new tricks--and get them to relearn old tricks they've forgotten. Artists frequently report the loss of drawing ability when they neglect drawing for even short periods of time. Since my heady, distracted days in art school, I've noticed a decline in my drawing ability. Just another case of "use it or lose it"?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tim Coffey Video - Faux Canvas

This is a great idea to get around paying for those expensive canvases or making them yourself, which is a lot of work.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I'd been on the internet yesterday and something caught my eye reminding me of a process I've done before, but not for a long time. So I started tearing up strips of tissue paper and gluing them down with thinned PVA. I painted the paper first and then the laid down strips to saturate them for good adhesion. The top page is just that, while the lower page has another layer of thin white napkins (this could be white tissue paper also). It too, is covered with another layering of glue. I like the lower as it gives a more muted look to the intense colors. They each can have their own uses. So now I"m ready with some pretty papers. You can do this using fabric as your base. See a tutorial at March 8th, 2010. Try it, lots of fun.

This is more paper I made embedding fern leaves in between paper and tissue. I've wanted to try this for some time. Living in the forest I am always drying leaves and flowers. I use them some in my art journal and in crafting with children. I like how it turned out. Now I have to see how I am led to use it.

This was the last thing I did yesterday and felt like it was a good place to stop. I was satisfied and happy with the days outcome. Well, actually I was pretty excited and gratified as to how this one turned out. The fish below was done yesterday too. It was a pretty prolific day.


Margarete sent me these beautiful, so colorful calendar pages recently. As soon as I saw them I thought of trying this fun idea I'd seen somewhere on the net. I still have a whole years worth of pages so I thought it would be a fun project to do with the kids in Sunday school. And, like all our crafts, we will put a Bible verse on it.


The morning light was just right. The day touched my cheek with a soft breeze. I was in wonder of His beauty. He never ceases to prick my inner being with joy at what he's done.

Isn't God's creation just marvelous? He speaks to us through the flowers and the beauty he puts all around us. Even this delicate little bee is a wonder of his doing.

This is the rich flower bed from which I was shooting. Summer is gone, yet the fall flowers are like God's final blessing of his colorful imagination expressed to give us beauty. This spot is located in the small village of Gorenichi in central Ukraine where we attended a Harvest Day celebration on the 11th. I"ll post pictures of that later.

Yes, this is for real. That amazing butterfly let me get real close. I've learned to start snapping as I approach so I at least get something before they flit away, but this one let me keep coming. God's amazing workmanship.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Artist Trading Card

This vintage little gem flew away to the U.S. recently. Artist Trading Cards (ATC) cannot be sold, but can only be given away or traded. They are miniature pieces of one's artistic creativity. Hope you like it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

We all have problems in this life, yet we walk around like everything is fine and we look like our life is all put together. The fact is, behind that mask often is great hurt, some tragic event or some challenge we think will engulf us. So, I've left here a link for you to read. It's not long, but will take you a few minutes. Believe me, it is worth the time: http://bravegirlsclub.com/archives/5832

Go there, you'll be glad you did and you'll look at people differently.

Blessings, Coleen

Friday, September 9, 2011


Another skinny done in a swap on Swap-bot.com Theme was vintage hat.


I just love the old vintage advertisements. This one is really funny. To think women wore such contraptions, all for the sake of beauty. Nothing wrong with wanting to be beautiful of course, I mean we are women, afterall, it's our girlhood dream, but torture to get there is another story. Hope you like it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vintage Skinny

A "skinny" is 3x5" in size. Had some fun creating this one recently. The flower was handmade with rickrack. I'm just amazed at how fast the summer has come and gone. Here's to a long drawn out fall. Hope you like it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


(Note: sorry about the music. I don't like when a blog starts up with music so short of deleting (which I may soon do) I haven't figured out how to turn it off. Go to Aug. 27th posting and pause it.)

If you live in America, more and more you have an abundance of gift cards laying around. I've found that if I ask for one or two in stores they usually just give them to me (unloaded, of course). In Europe we buy our phone chips and get these cards. So why not use them to craft? Here's a quick how to:

Select your cards. As you see below, it doesn't matter if there is a hole since you may cover with paper. The other option is to gesso or paint the surface. If you do this be sure to lightly sand the card so it will have some grip to hold your paint. Then decorate. The following is how to do it with a paper covering.

I laid my card down on the back side of my paper to mark cutting lines. Don't assume all cards are exactly the same size unless you check them. Some have funny shapes and edges.

Cut papers and round corners if you want. I did this with my smallest corner rounder and found it did not exactly match up. Try it and see on one before you cut a lot of papers. You might be better to hand cut around the corners after you glue in place or not cut them at all.

I inked my card edge before gluing paper to it. Then I inked the papers on it too. I discovered that ink pad ink is slow to dry on plastic so be careful not to smudge your paper with it (I did, experience, the great teacher). Inking edges is optional. Put the papers on your card and see how it looks.

Front side. This is the fun part, decorating the front and back. Be sure to leave room for your quote. Move everything around like a puzzle until you get the layout you like before gluing. Also, leave a bit of room in the upper left corner for a hole to bind it together with a ring or ribbon (or twine, embroidery floss, lace, seam binding, etc.)

Back side with your name and pertinent details you want to include. Here is evidence of some smudging I did (not on purpose). When that happens never fret, just work with it. I drew the little vine to cover the spot.

There wasn't that easy peasy? And so cute, what a fun mini-book. If you make one I'd sure like to see what you do.

Blessings, Coleen in Ukraine
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