“A Loose Woman Imitates The Little Prince” for StencilGirl & Impression Obsession Blog Hop



The moment I saw Seth Apter’s science fiction looking rubberstamps I had to have them. They suggested the Out of this World is the theme. Starry skies and science make me feel delighted, scared, and hopeful all at the same time.


roundabouts stamps.jpg

However, the project evolved and surprised me. I’d picked out  StencilGirl stencils I wanted to use with the stamps months ago and then three new ones leapt into the fray!

I was a massage therapist for 2 decades and it seemed to me, in my little microcosm, that women over 50 lived easier in the world, body and soul. Hence, Sue Pelletier‘s Loose Woman series of stencils for StencilGirl Products speaks to me. (Apologies to Sue if she saw her creations as younger!) I used the small ones and you can see them in a video HERE.

This little canvas celebrates ME though a riff on one of my favorite books of all time, “THE LITTLE PRINCE” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It is always a good read when I need perspective in my life.

By the time you read this blog post I shall be 50 years and a few days old. I’ve been regaled with wisecracks, comments and questions:

70 is the really hard birthday!
50 means you are just beginning your creative journey!
50 is the new middle age.
Would you like to join Senior Circle? (Don’t even get me started…)
Have you received your first mailing from AARP? (Yes, 15 years ago and I was highly insulted!)
I’m younger than you are!
Do you feel old mom?
and fortune and friends smile upon me, too many well wishes to count!

I think, if birthdays ending in 1 through 9 make us reflect on the year behind and the year ahead, those ending in 0 make us look at who we are against the journey of all we wanted to accomplish. I’d like to say “within the journey” but I seem to push back more often than not. Represented on my canvas by the (hopefully) extinct volcano.

Rabbit was my nickname as a child. The Rabbit is sitting in for The Fox.

My Flower under glass represents all the characters and stories swimming in my grey matter. A daring 50 years young woman might accept the responsibility and remove the glass… Seriously, my personal goal for the year is to write my way out of my novel “BRAMBLES”.

It was enormously difficult to choose a planet from among Seth Apter’s Solar System and Roundabouts rubber stamps for Impression Obsession; each one is so interesting. I did not even have to put the stamps on a block to stamp. The lines and details stamp impressively clean on the no-fray (slightly bumpy) fabric in the photo below. The more I look at them to more ideas I get.


Here are the steps for my mixed media canvas: A Loose Woman Imitates The Little Prince

1) Paint canvas background and add a critter silhouette at bottom looking up.
2) Stamp the largest of Seth’s planets on fabric (I used non-fray fabric) with Staz-On ink and cut out the planet.
3) Figure out where the place planet, volcano, flower, lone star (below planet) and loose woman.
4) Stuff planet with cotton and hand stitch to canvas with thread that matches the ink.
5) Stencil Loose Woman #2 because I liked her long hair and she is a lady leaping.
6) Stencil flower using Eastern Leaf Lotus Flower Repeat #L421 stencil and use iridescent paint to cover like a bell jar.
7) Paint volcano and small green Baobab tree seedling.
8) Paint her hair (or you could embroider) with rainbow strands.

Astronauts on the Loose Cards


A good friend of mine, Christine, hates the waste of envelopes. My boss, Mary Beth Shaw, has taught me to use them for art journaling. Recycling some envelop insides for clothes and making cards seemed like a good compromise.


1) Paint (be sure to add some shimmer!) and stencil the background. (Warped Holes has some smiling, tumbling alien faces in it!)s181-warped-holes



 Stencils used: Loose Woman #1, 2 & 3, Mary Beth Shaw’s mini stencil from December 2013 StencilClub, Lizzie Mayne’s Warped Holes S181 and Twist Lattice S152


Sue also designed a Loose Woman set exclusive to StencilClub July 2013 (You must be a club member to purchase the club set.)
2) Play paper dolls with me! Stencil each Loose Woman on a card.
3) Fussy cut paper patterns for boots, oxygen tank, and top of astronaut uniform (I adapted the window part of an envelope for the helmet.)window-from-envelope
4) Glue clothes on woman, detail boots andbootseach breastplate, then glue woman on the background. pre-embellishment
5) Stencil and stamp envelopes.blonde-hearttangerine-loose-woman
6) Address to another loose woman.
7) Go forth and impress your local postal clerk.
Optional: There are Star Trek stamps and planet stamps available right now! Live long and prosper!black-hair-loose
Tip: If you do not plan to mail these astronauts across planet Earth, you could also embellish with other 3D bits you’ve got handy in your studio

May your friendships be many
Your birthdays be fine,
Your travels be carefree &
May art allow you to unwind!

Yours loosely,

Please be sure to check out the other fine projects in this blog hop:


StencilGirl Products will be giving away a $25 Gift Certificate to TWO lucky winners!
Impression Obsession will be giving away a $25 Gift Certificate to TWO lucky winners!
Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment for
your chance to win 4 great prizes during the hop!

The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!
(One comment per blog please.)
You have until Friday, September 30th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.
Winners will be announced on
StencilGirl’s Facebook page on Sunday, October 2nd.


A Silvery Night in Jewelry Affaire

  One of the most fun things about working with Susan Lenart Kazmer , ICE Resin and Susan’s Industrial Chic Line is the opportunity to create in a 180 degrees different direction than writing fiction, grants, blogs and designing books.

Just like a finished manuscript, sometimes a piece of jewelry comes together perfectly and I send it off for an editor to love (or not).

My sparkling little evening bracelet arrived in my mail box a few days after the always inspirational Jewelry Affaire magazine.

Pretty cool, as for me, making jewelry is more like playtime. You can find me toward the back. Before you get to my “Silvery Night”, do pause a moment to adore the “Grapefruit Pink” bracelet of Chelsie Boyd and the “Mermaid Net” necklace by Emily Deister.

And, if you are looking for pieces made with Industrial Chic components, check out Debbie Cole’s Blue Bird Reversible Necklace (the bird image with the crown is absolutely darling!)




STORY… Talisman Project with ICE Resin

Brambles by Carol Baxter

As I write this post, there is a cacophony of voices in my head as my former newspaper editors Jerry, Richard, Jim, Pete, Tom and Autumn telling me that my words must be pared-down. Jen Cushman is there too, reminding me one word for the Talisman Project, Carol.

I learned from each of those editors, but the best advice came from Autumn. “Write until the story is finished.”

I protest to Jen, “I had a negative space in the heart that needed  filled and whether it is science fiction or fantasy, it is the characters that make me take my time to read a work of fiction.”

Characters with their foibles, courage, hates, loves, desires, and interactions make the STORY. (I am quite partial to science fiction and fantasy… Greg Bear, Guy Gavriel Kay, Jacqueline Karey, Patricia McKillip, Gregory Benford, and Harlan Ellison to name a few.

STORY is my Talisman for 2014 because if I stopped writing “Brambles” right now to make a piece of jewelry that said NOVELIST, it would take time from my preciously carved-out writing time–besides, I when one writes until the story is finished, one gets stories of many different lengths and I am working on more than just one.

A couple of years ago I made this bracelet as a gift for an author friend, Eve Paludan, and I liked it so much, I made one for me but it has sat neglected in my jewelry box.

I made it with an open back bezel and chain from Susan Lenart Kazmer’s Industrial Chic Line.

To make something similar you will need:

Torn words from a dictionary, ICE Resin, German Glass Glitter, Staz-On Ink, a bit of paint (it looks like I used a green aqua color to tint the resin), chain, clear packing tape, a craft cup and a stir stick, jewelry pliers, and a disposable paint brush.


1. Tear your words out and edge if you wish with ink so they stand out.

2. Mix ICE Resin per manufacturer instructions. Add a drop of acrylic paint for color if desired.

3. Apply packing tape to back of bezel. Burnish edges with your fingers so the resin does not leak.

4. Drip a little resin into the bezel. Add words and glitter. Drip more resin. Tip: be careful not to over fill when working with a smaller bezel.

5. To place word STORY on flat piece of metal, I painted on a little ICE Resin first, put the paper down,  another swipe of resin then a wee bit of glitter.

6. It dries and is ready to wear in about 6 hours.

Stay tuned on the ICE Resin blog for more Talismans and interesting, touching stories of why a particular designer chose his or her Talisman word. We hope it moves you to achieve your dreams!

If you want to know more about Talismans, Susan talks about them as numbers in these posts: 4 plus 3 and Lending Power to the Ordinary.

Provide for your errors

“… charitable contributions and provide for your heirs,” said a client dictating changes to a document over my cell while the house phone was ringing. Then I read the sentence out loud.

… provide for your errors…



English grammar

You can provide for your heirs. I am told they favor money.

You can provide for your hares. They like green stuff too—lettuce.

You can provide for your hair. I am sure there are hair products out there tinted with Solid Green FCF.

You can provide for your errors with contemplation and study. If your errors are of a more grievous nature, the state will provide for your errors and in that instance, your heirs, hares and hairs will suffer.

Heirs, hares and hairs all enjoy clean air.

Before you tell me that error and air does not belong with hare and heir, think about dialects.

The English Language provides for you to make many errors. In fact, I am completely convinced that English Language and Mother Nature are at happy hour in some dive laughing hysterically….

because you can dive off a cliff or meet your friend at the  local dive aka bar. Or it could be a dive bar as in one frequented by people who like to cliff dive.

Bar. Ballet bar? Drink bar? Bar the way? Ug! I have heard native English speakers complain about the words in other Romance languages that change depending on gender, saying how difficult it is to learn, but I think there are bugaboos no matter the language you are learning.

“The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a crib house whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”
–James D. Nicoll

“Viola “is the first word that comes to mind. (Yeah, I could write a whole other post on how the phonics educated child learned that “v” was a “w” and “io” was “ah”.)

The longer I write, it seems the bigger the hurry, end even if there was no hurry, the adage is true: EDITING YOURSELF IS UNWISE.

I have errors I routinely make as a less-than-fantastic typist and perhaps a titch of dyslexia:

  • from becomes form
  • the becomes teh
  • dropping the r in country so it becomes a somewhat smaller plot of land

The aforementioned dive is filling up with customers fast, most noticeably the Grammar Police—bots adept at catching i before e and errors, and error that are not error because  my character is speaking in the vernacular.

Yes, the Grammar Police deployed by Microsoft Word pretty are akin to government workers—with the exception of IRS workers who I am convinced get Bonu$e$ based on catching errors.

When I deem them ready, the novel, a memoir, and short story will go to a trusted editor.

That red-pen wielding  human will strike  my errors thus  allowing me  to provide curls for my hair and provide beach-side air for my heir.

Note to heir: I know you want a bunny rabbit. You will have to buy it and love it and care for it and think of a better name for it than George.


Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning.

A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a heteronym.

115 prompts to get you writing your life story:

  1. What lesson in life did you learn the hard way?
  2. Describe a time when your life took an unpredictable turn.
  3. Who do you think of when you imagine someone saying, “I believe in you.” Now, write about a time in your life when just knowing someone believed in you made a difference.
  4. Tell about a friend from each major stage of your life, and let us know why you think of that person as your friend.
  5. What slice of your life would you like your children to know that shed light on what has meant the most to you?
  6. What do you wish you could have asked your parents?
  7. What message would you like to send to your Mother? Your Father?
  8. As you look back over your life what threads do you recognize?
  9. So far, what are your sacred moments that come to mind?
  10. Write about several moments in your life that touched your deepest feelings.
  11. What one thing did you save that belonged to your parents? As you look at it, what do you think? What are your feelings when you touch it?
  12. Write about a time when you went through a spiritual crisis.
  13. Write about some places of beauty that touched your heart and that you cherish even to this day.
  14. What is the most surprising gift you ever received? Explain the circumstances around receiving this gift.
  15. What is the most enjoyable gift you gave to someone else? Explain.
  16. Write of several qualities of your grandparents that you would most like your grandchildren to possess.
  17. Write about the greatest peer pressure you felt as a teen since your grandkids feel it every day.
  18. Write about the hardest phone call you ever made. Write about the hardest letter you ever wrote. How about the hardest received?
  19. Write about the worst rejection you experienced as a teenager. How did you handle the situation?
  20. Write about how your family handled the bad times during your early years: divorce, death, arguments, lawsuits, and/or estrangements.
  21. Were there any cautionary tales within your family when you were growing up? Write about one.
  22. Write of one specific time when you felt hopeless and alone. What helped you through the experience? As you write, think of how best your grandchildren can learn from this experience.
  23. When you were a kid who could you always go to for honest answers? Explain who, explain why.
  24. Write of a single experience out of your past that found you caring and supportive of someone who was going through difficult times.
  25. Write of an instance when time seemed to stop and you knew you were part of a moment that held great significance.
  26. Write how you would choose to die plus the timing. Explain why.
  27. Explain to your children some of the things you want to experience before you die. Write a list. Explain why.
  28. Share your feelings about being left alone should your spouse die first.
  29. What apprehensions do you have about suffering? How will you explain these feelings to your grandchildren?
  30. Write about a time when you struggled with your identity and self-worth. This may be helpful to a grandchild.
  31. Write about the mirror of comparison that might have distorted a part of your early life; the comparison of telling you how much you lacked.
  32. What is your faith and how do you experience it?
  33. List five things you like about yourself and write a 50 word paragraph on each.
  34. Write about something you learned from forgiveness.
  35. Write about something you learned from fear.
  36. Write about something you learned from contentment.
  37. Write about something you learned from discipline.
  38. Write about something you learned from joy.
  39. Write about an experience in your life when you and your family experienced a flood. Describe it.
  40. Write about an early drought that impacted you and your family.
  41. Describe a dust storm you experienced as a kid. What was it like?
  42. Describe the coldest and harshest winter you can remember.
  43. What kind of heat did your house have when you were growing up? How did you keep warm? What was the process of staying warm in dead winter as a kid?
  44. What was the biggest snowstorm or blizzard you remember as a kid? What things did you have to do to survive such a storm?
  45. Were people more secure in their family values when you were growing up than they are now? Why? Why not?
  46. How common was working mothers in your day? Have working mothers been good or bad for our society? Explain why or why not.
  47. Write about a time in your childhood when father knew best.
  48. Write about a time when your father knew least.
  49. What was the balance between freedom and authority in your home when you were young? Write an experience from both.
  50. Write about a time when you and your new spouse/significant other  had an experience that was fun, wild, and spontaneous.
  51. Make a list for your grandchildren of some things you currently consider romantic.
  52. Describe a getaway experience you and your spouse/significant other had that was memorable.
  53. Write about an early experience when you and your spouse/significant other were aggressive and extravagant in your romance.
  54. Write about an experience where your romance was so predictable and boring that it was humorous.
  55. Where did you live during your childhood days and who lived with you?
  56. What kinds of make-believe do you remember playing as a child?
  57. Name and describe the pets you had when you were in grade school. Write about them.
  58. What do you remember feeling the first day of school? Describe it.
  59. What do you see going on around you at meal time when you were a child?
  60. Write a memory of the kind of music you typically heard as a child.
  61. Write a memory of the kind of music you typically heard as a teenager.
  62. Write a memory of the kind of music you typically heard as an adults.
  63. What fills up your senses?
  64. What is your favorite meal and why?
  65. What do you love to look at?
  66. What thrills your taste buds?
  67. What scents entice you? Why? What scents repulse you? Why?
  68. Describe the cars you have owned in your lifetime.
  69. Write about a memorable fishing trip.
  70. Write about a memorable camping trip.
  71. Write about a memorable vacation.
  72. If you were baptized, what were the circumstances around the event?
  73. What were the circumstances around your baptism?
  74. Did you have a memorable babysitting experience when you were a teenager? Explain.
  75. Write of one significant Depression experience that has stayed in your memory all these years.
  76. Write a memory of your first few days in Navy boot camp, or Army basic training.
  77. Write about some of the ways you carry a positive influence of your parents. List them and explain each.  Write of some ways you carry a negative influence.
  78. Write of an experience out of your past that found you in a very deep and powerful relationship with your parents.
  79. Write of an experience out of your past that found you in a very deep and powerful relationship with your children.
  80. Write of an experience out of your past that found you in a very deep and powerful relationship with your grandparents.
  81. Write of a childhood experience of genuine solitude you had that impacted your life? Explain the circumstances and what you learned.
  82. Write of your most romantic experience s ever.
  83. What roles did you have as (choose one): an only child; as the oldest child; as the middle child; as the youngest child.
  84. Describe the house your family lived in the first years of your life.
  85. Describe all the nicknames of your siblings and friends and the history behind them.
  86. Write about your weirdest  Christmas eve.
  87. List some of your favorite things and explain why they are your favorites.
  88. What is/was your profession?
  89. What was the worst thing that ever happened to you at work?
  90. Who is the one person I really miss in my life during the holidays? Why?
  91. Write about one childhood Christmas that really stands out? Why?
  92. Write what the word “blessed” mean to me? Why?
  93. Who’s the  Most Social
  94. Who’s the  Best Cook
  95. Who’s the  Most into Politics
  96. Who’s the  is the Funniest
  97. Who’s the  Most Creative
  98. Who’s the  the Wildest!
  99. Who’s the  Most Reclusive
  100. Who’s the  Most Generous
  101. Who’s the  Best Storyteller
  102. Who’s the  Most Traveled
  103. Who’s the  Best Organized
  104. Of those elections that you remember, what do you remember most about each?
  105. Which election was the first that you participated in (actually voted)?
  106. What are your current political views and have they changed over the years?
  107. Describe your teenage hangout.
  108. Describe the view from a particular window.
  109. Describe a sport you play or played.
  110. What is your all-consuming hobby?
  111. Are you a sports nut?
  112. What makes you crazy—pet peeves? How do you handle them?
  113. City-born or country-bred?
  114. Describe a favorite teacher or business mentor.
  115. What is your sense of humor like? Your favorite joke? Were you the class clown?

One Magazine

I have not blogged for myself in ages, but it has been on my To Do List. The other day it moved closer to the top of the list, but I must have a theme that is not binding so I chose Lists. I am a list maker. I can be compulsive about it but I have to tell you that I find satisfaction in marking though a task accomplished.


Can you judge a person by their magazines? I do buy magazines that catch my eye in single copies however, I only subscribe to one in print, because one is all I can keep up with cover to cover. On my list of writing goals is to find a brilliant article idea and get an affirmative answer to my pitch to… drumroll… WIRED.

I subscribed in 2002 when Spielberg was on the cover.

WIRED is where I first learned that a blind man’s brain could be wired to a portable computer so he could see the world, at least as a negative.  I was so captivated by this true story that I wrote a fantasy of my own, “The Bone Flute Maker”, published in Vampires, Zombies and Ghosts, Oh My!

Carol La Valley

I grew up on a steady diet of science fiction and I long for Richard Branson to make one of those dreams available as science fact.

WIRED is where I laugh at Predict What’s Next and where I used to laugh at Japanese School Girl Watch.

Science news, gadget news, movie news, intelligent articles on people with vision, sometimes skewed, but vision none the less. The DIY issue is a recent favorite.

I know life is busy when I have to make the time to savor my geekiness and read two issues back to back. Ohhh. Instead of writing this blog post, I could be reading WIRED.


The taste of buttermilk

     Time and again, their voices soft with childhood, life story clients have told me what a wonderful treat buttermilk was.

     Their eyes sparkle, and they lean toward me as they try, each in their turn, to convince me that the thick white beverage with yellow butter floating in the cream, was the most delightful treat.

     Jeannie’s mother would give her a pail and send her to fetch buttermilk from the dairy. So across the bridge over the pond and down the road Jeannie and her friend would walk. Jeannie’s uncle worked at the dairy and he would oblige the girls with a pail of milk which they would go sit on the corner and drink down to the last succulent drop. Then, they’d return to the dairy, pay their 50 cents and return with a pail of buttermilk for Jeannie’s mother to use to make, “the best biscuits.”

     “Buttermilk today does not compare,” Jeannie said.

     Admittedly, I have never liked the taste or smell of buttermilk, yet clients and acquaintances of a certain age, salivate and lick their lips at the memory of this drink from days of yore.

     When I told two other clients I was on the lookout for fresh buttermilk, the both scoffed at the notice of my finding anything that compared with the memory of their taste buds.

     “You’re going to bring me fresh buttermilk? Do you know any dairymen? In Payson? Ha!” Frieda laughed.

     I am looking. Vita Mart sells products from an organic dairy. Maybe I will get lucky.

     A recent veteran of a diet that worked, I still consider myself a foodie.

     When you are writing your story, incorporate, where appropriate, how food was a part of your life, how it tasted, how it made you feel.

     Some tidbits to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Did you ever cook with your mother? Grandmother? Child?
  • What is your favorite food?
  •                                 Do you make it yourself?
  •                                 Is there a ritual to eating it?
  •                                 Why does it taste so good?
  • Is there an entrée or vegetable you detest?
  •                                 When did you first eat it?
  •                                 Did someone make you eat it?
  •                                 What made it icky? Flavor? Texture? Odor? Looked unappetizing?
  • Were family dinners and all-out affair?
  • Who taught you to set the table?
  • Do your parties revolve around people or food?

Remember, keyboards do not react well to spilt buttermilk.

Happy writing!