Thursday, March 2, 2017

The New Wine

The New Wine:  16 x 20
Acrylic on Canvas.
Interested in purchasing?  Send an e-mail to

The inspiration:
Matthew 9:17 - Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved. (KJV)
I recently heard Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church  teach a message on how to be lead by the Spirit of God.  One of his points was that in order to start hearing from God, one must stop focusing on both the inner and outer voices that would lead one astray.  One of the loudest voices is current culture.

Though oxymoronic, current culture is often an "old bottle."  Ecclesiastes 1:9 in the New Living Translation says, "History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new."  Styles and attitudes are based on what was before.  The riotous behavior we see splattered across the news isn't new.  It's been going on since the fall of man, but new technologies simply bring it before our eyes faster and more frequently.

The Holy Spirit is represented in Scripture by wine (Ephesians 5:18), or spiritual drink (I Corinthians 10:4).  When we receive the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, His Holy Spirit immediately takes residence.  As we "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12), the attitudes of the Spirit--the new wine--clash with the attitudes of current culture--the old wine bottles. 

Yes, they will break.  Let them!

Let the breaking of those bottles lead you to seek new ones not damaged by sin and misguided thinking.  Let the new wine stimulate you to the joy of salvation (Psalm 51:12), and bring out new attitudes of love and worship.

About the painting:

The pattern for this painting is from Susan Schewee Brown's instruction book Simple Elegance.  At first, I wasn't going to attempt it. Why?  Because the only other painting I'd tried with clear glass as part of the subject was a disaster.  The first time I painted it, my instructor took over to correct my mess.  The second time, I purposefully managed to creatively leave it out of the composition. 

The spiritual inspiration for this painting kept me from giving up before I started.  Yes, I know I had instructions for it, but those generally don't help.  I'm not using the same kind of equipment or technique as the author.  Plus, though I took painting lessons for years, I still don't understand most of the terminology used in the instruction manuals.

The best way I can describe how I completed this was that I messed up, wiped away the mistake, and tried again until I was satisfied.  Once I was happy with it, I left it alone.  I have a tendency to keep touching up a painting until I've absolutely ruined it and have to start over.  Not this time.

Maybe there is some "new wine" to my painting technique.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Red Hat Society

Red Hat Society:  11 x 14 (framed and matted size)
Watercolors on Paper. 
Interested in purchasing?  Send an e-mail to

Titus 2:3-5 - Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. (MSG)
We all need mentors, but we all should also be available to be a mentor.  There seems to be no shortage of mentoring opportunities for men.  In fact, I read where one self-described "virtual mentor" is selling tickets to his inner circle for $30,000
Good luck with that one. 
Ladies have had to get creative when it comes to mentoring opportunities.  Enter the Red Hat Society.  This organization was originally created for women aged 50 and over to encourage one another and to mentor younger ladies.  Now, it has morphed into a self-described "play group for women."
Yes, fun and play is important to having a balanced healthy life.  However, real mentoring happens during times of pain as well as times of joy.  Though the scripture from Titus chapter two seems to only place women within the context of the domestic, the true spirit of these instructions is to meet people where they are.  In other words, true mentors aren't only wives and mothers; they are "every woman."
Why the gender specific call?  Because some things can't be shared in mixed company.  Why the call to sobriety and discretion?  Because some things (meaning anything important) can't be shared with loud mouthed drunks. 
So, while we straighten our red hats, be encouraging and kind to she who's hat has been rumpled and knocked askew by ugliness of this world.  As we model our red hats and purple dresses, let's also be models of God's ourselves and to each other.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Window Garden

Window Garden:  16 x 20 Acrylic on canvas. 
Interested in purchasing?  Send an e-mail

Isaiah 40:8 - The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.  (KJV)

Each season, God provides beautiful flora and fauna for us to enjoy.  Spring bursts with azalea and dogwood blooms.  Summer is a symphony of color from huge yellow sunflowers to tiny pink dianthus.  Autumn is filled with the changing colors of leaves and pots of mums.  Winter rounds out the year with violas and pansies.  With each season is the reminder that though the beauty of last season is gone, there's more to come.

Our walk with God is like that.

Each season of struggle against satan's attacks is replete with stunning bouquets of God's grace that make us "more than a conqueror" (Romans 8:37).  Song of Solomon 2:1 calls Jesus the "Rose of Sharon" and "The Lilly of the Valley."  However, he's no mere perennial favorite--His love, His beauty, is everlasting--a continuous feast of extravagant elegance amidst the dead brown ugly that is this sinful world.

Jesus said in John, chapter 15, "I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Gardener." 

What a beautiful garden he tends, and we get the benefits of it.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Card Sharks

Why do we love handmade cards?  From the crayon-scribbled cards we made for our parents as children, to a store bought card with a genuine handmade, handwritten message, cards show caring and creativity.

When I took painting back in the 90's, painting books full of card patterns intrigued me, but not enough to try it.  Years later, I saw a Pinterest pin of an embossed card to paint.

Unfortunately, I couldn't afford the embossing machine or the paper to make these cards.  So, I tried an economical version.

Nope, not as pretty.  Plus, since I used glue to try to get the embossed look, it made for a very sticky card.

Since then, I've thought about cutting watercolor paper to the size of card I want and painting them one at a time.  But, what if I want to make a set of 12 for someone?  That would take way too long.  So it hit me.

Why don't I paint something.  Scan it into the computer.  Use a program to create the card. Print and cut them out.

Yes, I know I need a proper paper cutter, but right now, my quilting supplies will have to do. 

In the future, I'll play with different designs.  I may even start writing sayings in them.  When I feel more confident about them, I may start posting them for sale.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Walking on Sunshine

8x10 Acrylic on Canvas
$35.00 unframed,  $50.00 framed + shipping
(Frame styles vary by availability)
Late summer blooms and butterflies enjoying the reflection of sunshine.  Keep summer in those corners during the cooler months with this piece.
A replica of this painting is being donated to the Jacksonville Senior Citizen's Center as a door prize for their monthly dance.

Interested in purchasing?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Quilt in a Day...Well...

Quilting has always fascinated me.  Taking tiny cuts of cloth and stitching them together to make functional art has been a staple of American society.  From  the intricate quilts of the Native Americans, to First Lady Martha Washington to the freedom quilts of Gee's Bend, quilts have warmed bodies and souls, told stories, and become family heirlooms.  I have longed to make fabric art of this magnitude. 

My first foray into sewing was in 7th grade when I took Home Economics (which, sadly, isn't taught in many schools now--but that's a rant for another day).  Between high pitched insults and rants about how much she hated kids, the teacher (name withheld to protect the guilty) at least taught us how to thread the machine and to always backtack at the ends of a stitch.  After a semester of sewing C-grade items, I was glad to move on to something 8th grade! 

On of my best diaper bags
After not touching a sewing machine again until I was an adult (flashbacks, you know), I picked up where I left off.  I made a few C-grade clothing items for myself and some truly butt-ugly baby quilts for donation--one of the few times I was truly ashamed of my work.  Over the years, I got pretty good at making diaper bags, but still the beauty of a quilt eluded me.

An area church's quilting club offered free beginner classes.  Unfortunately, it was full of a bunch of seasoned quilters and me.  The leader (I can't call her a teacher) conducted the "classes" as if everyone already knew what they were doing, which isn't beginner level at all.  After several sessions of less sewing and more cussing under my breath, I left the class in utter disgust.  But I still wanted to make a quilt.  I read books, got advice from people at fabric shops and craft stores, watched videos, went through I don't know how much fabric, and wore out two old sewing machines (or was it 3?).  But no matter how hard I tried, I never succeeded in sewing a decent quilt.

9-patch sampler
A friend taught me to crochet granny squares in 1992.  I made several granny square blankets, but I'd never thought of making quilt-type afghans, or quilt-ghans, out of them.  The idea finally came years later when I saw this pattern for a 9-patch sampler quilt-ghan made of 3-round granny squares.  I made the pattern and loved it.  The only trick to it was learning to make the two-color squares.  Once I got the hang of it, the rest was pretty easy--tedious, but easy.

School bus cuddle quilt
I made several other quilt-ghans over the years, but I still watched quilting shows on TV and later the internet in hopes that something would click and I could finally make a "real" quilt.  I longingly viewed images of Nancy Zieman, Georgia Bonesteel, and Eleanor Burns, among others, blissfully making smooth strips, squares, and appliques with their rotary cutters or other tools, whipping the fabrics together on sewing machines with more buttons than the helm of the U. S. S. Enterprise, and alluding to this thing called binding that I have YET to figure out.  How DO they do that?  Sigh.

So what was Auntie to do?
Patchwork fans

Right after Christmas, my desire to quilt started gnawing in my craw again, but I didn't feel like wasting more fabric and still not getting what I want.  Then the thought hit me to work with what I had instead of mope.  I didn't want to simply repeat past patterns, but to try to design my own, or at least gain some inspiration from "real" quilts and the stories behind them.

My first quilt project for the year was called "Peony."  It was inspired by a project featured on Eleanor Burns Quilt in a Day:  Egg Money Quilts show.  The basic pattern was already established, but certain crochet elements, like the lattice work between the squares, I had to figure out for myself.  The finished product took about two months and was donated as a door prize for the Senior Citizen's dance.

My interpretation
The inspiration
My second and most elaborate project to date is another Eleanor Burns inspired quilt-ghan.  The birdhouse quilt was different in that I had to make the pattern completely from scratch.  I couldn't just look at the screen capture and make squares that make an exact copy the pattern.  I also had to add, remove, and reposition various elements to get the results I wanted.  I also had to comb through books, printouts, and computer files for patterns for the different flower and insect appliques, many of which I liked, but had to modify to get what I wanted.  This project took four months and I auctioned it off online.  It actually sold, and I am extremely proud.  Maybe my quilt-ghans are "real" after all.

So what's next?

Photo courtesy of Google
I've admired the quilt pictured here by Nancy Zieman since I saw it featured in her ombre fabrics series.  I tried a couple of different versions of the square, but couldn't figure it out.  I found a fabric pattern that may help me figure it out.  We'll see.  I'll most likely be settling in to making the project in the fall.  So be on the lookout.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Tulip Duo

$50.00 + shipping
This 11x14 watercolor painting welcomes spring with a fresh bouquet.
Interested in purchasing?