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Thursday, December 11, 2014


I've posted some of these on Facebook (find me as Coleen Franks Ukraine to get the right "me"), but decided to post all here together.  I must admit to like the shabby look.  The leaves were collected from our street in central Ukraine this past autumn.  I love things from nature and when we travel I always have a book so I can slip some leaves or flowers in to dry from distant places.
The papers are from a 1947 Webster's Dictionary we've moved from place to place for eons.  It's a monster and I won't use it up in my lifetime, but the paper is very thin and perfect for applying with glue for mixed-media work.  It's really my preferred choice for a background. Hoping one of my grand kids will like to craft so I can pass it on.  A legacy, huh!
This beautiful fern actually is the only piece that came right from my yard.  The foreign words over my dictionary page say "Jesus Christ" in Russian.  The shabby/dirty looking trim below was died with raspberries over the summer.  And I have so many seed beads I decided one day they'd make a good glitter decoration.  I applied them with Glossy Accents.
A little bit of music paper here too.  Someone sent me this curly doll hair.  Maybe someday I'll make dolls with the kids I work with, but in the meantime I thought it was pretty here.
I believe these little gold things are called micro-balls.  I found them in Germany last year and I can't read German so you probably know better than I what to call them.  Compliments nature nicely.
So that is most of my collection from the fall.  Found this cool yarn right here in Ukraine.   Thanks for stopping by and I love when you leave comments.  Blessings to you all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Living in Ukraine has made me quite aware of recycling since I can't just go out to a big craft store as one can in America.  So my studio is quite full with things like tea tins, cookie tins, boxes, Altoid tins, tin cans, paper, card board and Styrofoam.  So here is one of the crafts I do.
In the top picture you can see I cut off the curved edges to get a nice flat piece of foam.  Upon that you can draw any picture you want for a stamp.  I've been into feathers for some time, but I've done flowers and other things as well.  This is the back side.  Turn over for the smooth side.
This picture is an example of the drawn feather.  I simply used a pen to make my marks.  At this point you can stamp in a square or your can remove the outside negative space to have the feather shape as I did in the picture below.
And don't feel like you have to make things realistic.  A little whimsy is always fun as you see with my curls.  I love curls, don't you?
Finally, the actual stamped images.  Styrofoam is soft so these won't last a long time, but then they are so easy to do.  And as a mixed-media artist I've learned to embrace imperfection.  As a matter of fact, I like imperfection.  It gives that hand-made feel that creates the distinction of art as opposed to something manufactured.  So give this a try and see what you come up with.  I know you'll love it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


This and the following couple pictures were taken before the weather in Ukraine turned so cold.    Now we've had several hard freezes.  I always feel sad as this time of year comes around because I like being outdoors and in the garden.  Now that has come to an end.
Pretty much we've put the garden to rest for the winter.  That includes, besides leaves, cutting back a lot of soft vegetation that would be a mess by spring if I didn't do it now.   Ordinarily we might have chrysanthemums for a while, but the hard freeze took them too.
I will still post some summer pictures that I just didn't get on and they make me feel good to see the beauty of nature when it is so cold outside.
A slight blurr here but you get the idea.  I always watch for heart shape rocks.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


You are going to love what this sweet lady, my friend on Facebook has to offer.  She is such a good artist and she does what so many others charge a lot for with online classes.  Here is the  intro and you can find it all on YouTube. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Had great fun trying something new recently.  I got to create these cool background papers using rubber stamps.  I think they turned out pretty well for a first time.  I was prompted to do this by a swap on www.swap-bot.com.    Sometimes I do things there simply for the purpose of learning/trying a new technique.  I like how some popped out and some receded.  After stamping I sprayed with various sprays to add color.  Some were done on white card stock and others on lightly colored card stock. Also, the heart above was my very first hand-carved stamp.  There will be more of those for sure.  Give it a try. It's lots of fun.

Friday, September 12, 2014


It always has been for me.  For ages I just didn't like my own writing, but I've changed my attitude.  After all, no one writes just like me.  As no one writes just like you.  Like a fingerprint, it is your own unique "signature."  Just one of the many ways God made us each different.  So just decide to start liking it and some practice really helps so I think this video will improve your hand.  Enjoy. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


"You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn't worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens." ~Louise L. Hay

found on KristalNorton.com
Summer in Ukraine. From my garden for your enjoyment.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


This was a fun day with the children in Sunday school with a special treat of a visiting clown.  He had all kinds of games and play and there was a lot of laughter and as always, good food.  It was hard to get good photos as everyone was always moving, but you get the idea.  In this time of war and stress for many parents we try to keep things as normal as possible for the children.  Thank you to those of you who send craft supplies.  The children love making things and I love doing it with them. Bless your hearts.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


I've always had a "thing" about baskets.  Can't tell you why.  I just like them.  The one pictured here is an example of what I taught ladies in our church.  It is actually made from the top of a round cake box.  That's right, the interior is card board.  It was padded all around and inside.  The handle actually moves up and down.  The material was a velvet scrap and the beads were a short piece someone sent that fit so nicely.  Found this cute little kitty and it seemed she was just destined to sit in this spot.  They were a lot of fun to do.

Monday, August 18, 2014


 Come walk through my yard with me.  I've been too long away from my blog so here's what happened in the yard in May.  Above was a rare foggy morning in the back yard.
 The rest of these pictures are from the front yard.  In Ukraine houses have fences all around them including across the front.
 Peonies are always so beautiful.  I have white ones and red ones too.

 Iris and evergreens...
 In the Russian language (that's what I speak here) these are called "Little Bells."  I don't know what they would be in English.  Behind are two varieties of hosta.

 The garden is just another art expression for me.  I love the flowers.

 Roses and strawberries.  The strawberries are in several of my flowerbeds.

I think these are called "Sweet Williams."  Thanks for stopping by. Sure appreciate it. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bracelet Ministry

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I have always liked beads and buttons.  I use them both in my own arts and crafts, but also in my ministry with the people of Ukraine.  I have what I call my "Bracelet Ministry."  That is where I gather youth girls and sometimes ladies and we all make bracelets like these above.  Women always love bracelets.  I have folks who send me the beads or old jewelry that I take apart to re-purpose for bracelets and other crafts.  These are a few I made above.  I do that, wear them and from there often give them away.  I love doing that.  If you have any bead necklaces,  bracelets or out-dated jewelry you don't want, please send them our way.  We make smiles with them.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


I've been asked to show my feathers.  I can't tell you why I've been on a feather kick except that I like birds (2 bird themed altered books already completed) so I guess it is a natural to like feathers too.  These two are cardboard (recycle), Sharpie pen, markers, glitter and pearl paints.

These were pretty easy too.  I used double-sided tape on the wire and placed between a piece of music paper folded in half.  Then I cut the shape I wanted, feathered with more cutting and spray/glittered.  Easy peasy, try it.

Markers and Sharpie pen.  Free hand-cut.
These pretties were hand-cut from a candy box.  The cardboard was so pretty in it's silver and gold that I thought, I must do something with them.  I used an ordinary pen (ballpoint) that just so happen to not work for the engraving.

More recycle with these from some product cardboard headed to the recycle bin.  These I painted with watercolor in light pastels.  Then used black Sharpie pen to draw.  Over that I used glitter glue and some pearl paints. Leaves, feathers, whatever you want.  Just fun to do and great to do in front of the TV.  Give it a try.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Though life has been rather chaotic with all the political action in the country we try to keep a  semblance of normality in our day-to-day activities.  Sometimes that is difficult.
 This group of ladies and I have been crafting together for several years now.  We've done a prayer journal, a min-book and now we do cards, which is always a useful craft to give friends.
 Most of them have children and they are in a church about 45 minutes away from where we live.  That sometimes hinders our winter classes, but not often since the busy highway that connect us is usually clear.
 My thanks to all those of you who have sent lovely materials that they use in their creations.
They have joy over doing them and I couldn't do it without your help.  Bless your hearts.
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