Category Archives: life

It’s that time again! Time to Liberate Your Art!

Hard to believe a year has slipped by since my last post!  A lot has happened in a year, but I am still in the same place and still doing henna and still liberating my art!

California Springtime — my card for this year’s swap

This was a fun piece to make — and it also stretched my limits!  I had the vision of California poppies.

Photo from Carlsbad Flower Fields that was the inspiration for my painting

I had visited the Carlsbad Flower Fields a few years ago and just loved a patch of California poppies.  I used to have a small patch in my own front yard, near the trash cans which bloomed in mid-spring with a burst of color.  However, my “helpful” next-door neighbor was killing his weeds and decided to kill mine, too. He was so proud of how he helped me out.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he decimated my wildflower patch…

So in the void of my own poppy patch, I decided to paint one.

The background is made from layers of sheet music (from an old choral folder I found and was going to recycle), and bits of Japanese text from a local neighborhood paper. (I love that San Diego has such diversity).  There are also some Tim Holtz butterflies and bees under the greenery.  I made the flowers with painted handmade paper.  The absorbent texture of the soft paper really soaked up the watercolor paint!  Once I figured out where to put the flowers, I added the fronds in a silvery-green.  But that didn’t show up very well, so I added an extra layer of dark green paint — I like the dimensionality of the 2 layers of color.  Then I added the little blue flowers.  And it still needed something.  The inspiration for a bee arrived; I painted it in watercolors and felt-pen and glued it on. At last, I had my poppy sanctuary to share.

I mailed my cards off to Kat Sloma’s Liberate Your Art swap a few weeks ago, and soon cards will start arriving. I can’t wait to see where my cards landed and which ones end up here!

If you would like one of my postcards, just let me know and I’ll put one in the mail for you!

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Welcoming 2016 with a new word

It’s a new year, a clean slate and a fresh start.  2015 was a very tough year and I felt as if I were in an emotional fog for most of it.  I was in shock and numb from the back-to-back losses of both my mother and a good friend.  And I did my best to do what needed to be done… and I got things accomplished, but I had no passion, goals or dreams.

It is 2016.  The fog has cleared and I am back.

This year I decided to focus on a word, and let my goals flow from that.  The word that came to mind was: Bloom.

There are many definitions for the word bloom according to Webster’s online dictionary:

  1. 1a:flowerb:  the flowering state <the roses in bloom>c:  a period of flowering <the spring bloom>d:  a rapid and excessive growth of a plankton population (as of algae or dinoflagellates) — compare red tide

  2. 2a:  a state or time of beauty, freshness, and vigor b:  a state or time of high development or achievement <a career in full bloom>

  3. 3:  a surface coating or appearance: as a:  a delicate powdery coating on some fruits and leaves b:  a rosy appearance of the cheeks; broadly:  an outward evidence of freshness or healthy vigor c:  a cloudiness on a film of varnish or lacquer d:  a grayish discoloration on chocolate e:  glare caused by an object reflecting too much light into a television camera

I chose to focus on 1a and b, 2 a and b and 3 b.  Bloom as a flowering state, a time of freshness and vigor, high achievement and an outward evidence of freshness or healthy vigor.

These work well with: bringing my health back to a bloom through daily walks, weight workouts and cleaner eating: bringing my business to a state of achievement by increasing my social media presence, adding products to my offerings, and continuing to refine my booth and books: blooming creatively by taking classes and reading books: blooming financially and encouraging a period of flowering between the cats (there are 3 and they do not like each other).

My word and goals for 2016

My word and goals for 2016.  Homework for the Lifebook 2016 online mixed media class I am taking.

Have you made resolutions for the new year?  Do you choose a word for the year?  How do you work on goals?

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Holiday Monday in the Park…

Happy Memorial Day!


And while we paid homage to the service men and women who served our country in times of war, it was also the official first day of summer for most places.

And it’s the first day of henna season for me. From now until Labor Day I will work at one or more jobs every day, six to seven days per week. It’s intense, but fun and I wouldn’t have it any other way… well, maybe without the day job… but I need that in the winter so I stay during the summer… so it goes.

For the past 6 years I have spent Memorial Day at Spanish Village in Balboa Park (where I am a juried member of the group of patio artists). It’s a tough job… but somebody’s got to do it…

Here I am at my table on the patio
Here I am at my table on the patio
Don Strandberg soothed us with his mellow guitar playing
Don Strandberg soothed us with his mellow guitar playing
Only in San Diego can you find poinsettias and jacarandas blooming together...
Only in San Diego can you find poinsettias and jacarandas blooming together…
The hibiscus were in full bloom
The hibiscus were in full bloom
A fun design
A fun design
Look up in the branches of the jacaranda tree...
Look up in the branches of the jacaranda tree…


I discovered this little gem in the tree next to my table!
You never know what is sitting just above your head!
(Yes, I stole these this post and photos from my other blog,
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This was my second LYA and it was just as amazing as my first.

The first thing I gained from LYA was a push — I pushed myself out of my comfort zone (drawing on people and focusing on what designs THEY want) to drawing on paper and drawing what I want…. knowing what I wanted to draw was the first and most difficult step.  The whole process of creating this piece widened boundaries and made me a better artist.

My hamsa as a peace dove... taking a traditional idea and stretching it...

My hamsa as a peace dove… taking a traditional idea and stretching it…

Then, I got to receive really cool art postcards!


My first postcard was from from Linda Ursin of, who lives in Norway. I thought her little chickadee might like a California meadow…


Next came  this lovely card from Mel ( who lives somewhere in England. Her greeting is: Put your he{ART} into all you do!  I took her card to the Harborfront for some San Diego context.


My 3rd card came from Kathryn van Rooyan and exhorted: “I hope you are not just thinking about ART, but doing it!” I let her road lead me to Ray St in San Diego aka Arts and Culture Street for its many galleries and monthly festivals…. (You can also find Kat on Instagram)


And then I got this moose from William Charlebois… who says: Aim for the concept not the reality… I took this card to the Lemon Grove giant lemon for some cognitive dissonance…


“Winter is an etching, Spring a watercolor, Summer an oil painting, and Autumn a mosaic of them all.” –Stanley Horowitz
This lovely card came from Allison Bents in Minnesota so I took it out for some margaritas in Old Town…

And last but not least, here is the card from Kat Sloma — whose brainchild LYA is:

Kat Sloma's tree among the jacaranda blossoms...

Kat Sloma’s “Adorned and Alone” among the jacaranda blossoms…

What a wonderful collection of art I received and it’s awe-inspiring to be part of this major project: 216 artists, 11 countries… I made lasting friends from the swap last year and made new ones this year… I can’t wait to see what next year brings!

Click HERE to see the video Kat made of all the cards received… note that there are some breaks in the music but the cards continue; do not stop watching too soon!



A day at Mon Petit Chateau

I spent today at an event at Mon Petit Chateau in Chula Vista, CA. The theme was pre-Mother’s Day appreciation with vendors of all sorts — from tupperware to NuSkin to Jamberry to Wine at Home to me, your humble henna and glitter artist.

This was the first time I’d been to Mon Petit Chateau. I suppose that without kids and living in Lemon Grove, I really didn’t have a reason to visit… but I am sure glad I discovered this little gem!  If I had kids, I’d be there as often as possible!

The entrance houses an expresso bar and pastry shop.
The entrance houses an expresso bar and pastry shop. The expresso is ground right before it is brewed and there are also fresh baked croissants, cupcakes, and specialty sandwiches.  I tried the Turkey Pesto Panini… yum!
The life-sized paper tree towers up to the ceiling
The life-sized paper tree towers up to the ceiling.
Inside the castle are costumes for wanna-be knights and princesses...
Inside the castle are costumes for wanna-be knights and princesses… There’s also a grocery store with play vegetables and shopping carts, a train and lots of puzzles.
The discerning Princess can also find attire in the Atelier...
The discerning Princess can also find attire in the Atelier…
There's also an attached boutique with too many adorable things... I wish these babies came in MY size...
There’s also an attached boutique with too many adorable things… I wish these babies came in MY size…
In addition to enjoying the surroundings, I got to draw fun, sparkly things as well!
In addition to enjoying the surroundings, I got to draw fun, sparkly things as well!

Although it was a gray and drizzly day, the spirits inside were bright and full of joy… and expresso…

I may have to borrow some children so I can go back!

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Liberate Your Art 2013

Last year I participated in Kat Sloma’s Liberate Your Art Swap and it was a wonderful experience!  Not only did it push me out of my boundaries, but I got some great cards in exchange and met some really interesting people!

This was last year’s card.

Natasha's Peacock

On the back it has a quote from Picasso which inspired me to leap into the unknown and make this card: “I am always doing what I can’t do. That’s how I get to do them.”

This year the task seemed harder.  It’s earlier in the year and I found myself distracted with work and taxes and a zillion other things. Also, I wasn’t sure what to do.  So that took some time to come up with an idea.

Once I did get the idea for doing a hamsa, I drew many draft ideas before I settled on the hamsa as a dove idea…and then I made several backgrounds to see which one worked best… and did a couple iterations of the dove to find the best fill pattern combination… and I decided to do it as a collage –which made it possible to change the background 4 times without drawing more doves.

So now I am down to the wire.  The deadline is April 6.  I just finished my cards (mostly — still have to sign each one and add a personal touch of glitter, but they are all PRINTED.) I will get them to the post office on Monday and they should get to Kat in Oregon by Wednesday, Thursday at the latest.  Squeaking in just under the wire.  But making the deadline by a hair is better than not making the deadline at all.

This is this year’s offering:

The year’s quote is from Scott Adams: “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
I might add that glitter always helps distract attention from mistakes and thus should be used liberally.

And on Monday, my 6 cards will make their way out into the world…I wonder where they will end up?!

If you are not part of the Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap and would like one of my cards, just send me an email: and I’ll get one out to you.

If you are part of the Liberate Your Art Swap this year, I’ll be happy to send one to you, too, once all the cards have arrived and you didn’t get one of mine.

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Happy Lunar New Year of the Snake!

Wishing everyone a very happy Chinese New Year’s!

Usually we celebrate Chinese New Year’s at home with a big feast (partially made by Trader Joe’s)… chaomein (fried noodles for a long life), jiaozi (dumplings that resemble fat moneypurses to bring wealth), and finishing the meal with tangerines, another symbol of wealth and good fortune.

However, this year, we are in snowy Aspen, Colorado for one of Bill’s conferences… and I kind of doubt the conference dinner will have a Chinese theme. Oh well.

Fortunately, the holiday lasts for 15 days — which gives me plenty of time to feast once we return home. AND catch up on all the holiday greetings that I put off from X-Mas season until this time of year.

According to tradition, the year of the snake will bring changes… and just as a snake sheds its skin, so we can shed bad habits to allow new, more healthy habits to grow.

Xin Nian Kuai le! Happy New Year!

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New Year, New Vision: 2013

OK.  So January is almost over and I am finally finishing up my vision board for the new year. I usually attend a vision board workshop to create one for the new year, but as I was working that day, I had to go it on my own.

Fortunately, I had all the materials necessary: a big stack of magazines and other images, a good pair of scissors and a glue stick.

Vision boards, for those of you who haven’t seen or tried one, are visual representations of wishes or goals for the new year.  Since they’re made from scraps and pieces and are very visual, they usually reveal more than the simple goals outlined on New Year’s Day.  I have found my vision boards to have layers of meaning… and sometimes I don’t even know the full extent of the vision until the end of the year when I look back and say, “Aha, that’s what the butterflies meant!” Last year I was drawn to images of butterflies and thought they meant joy… but really what happened was a whole blossoming of creative freedom…that was joyful, but much more than just joy.


My vision for 2013

This is a big year… for me personally (turning 50, celebrating 20 years of marriage) and for Crescent Moon Designs which is celebrating 15 years of business. And my vision feels big, expansive.  It’s a lot wordier than other visionboards I’ve done and it feels more specific.

We’ll see how this year matches its vision.

Long live wonder!

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Happy Martin Luther King Day 2013

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!



I don’t remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  I was 5 when he was assassinated. But I do remember growing up in inner city Nashville, and witnessing first-hand as old attitudes smacked into new laws and the old ways of segregation and racism began to crumble.

It did not happen overnight. I started school in Nashville in 1971, which was the first year of enforced bussing to integrate the schools. I was 7. We lived in a black neighborhood (because my mother taught at Fisk University and we lived in campus housing). I was the only white person on the bus.  When we got to Norman Binkley Elementary School that morning, there was a crowd of picketers waiting for us, angry white parents who didn’t want “niggers” touching their children. Needless to say, there was a moment of surprise when I got off that bus. And I got to endure the pent-up and passed-down racial anger from both black and white kids for quite some time before I was finally just accepted.

Later that year, we had a bomb scare; someone called to say a bomb had been planted in the library because of the “niggers” in the school.  We all trooped over to the nearby church to wait while the bomb squad checked everything out.  And none of us kids understood…why would anyone want to bomb children? For what?  If the bomb had gone off, all children would have been injured — not just the black ones… and the real stupidity of racism became clear.

We have come a long way since I was in elementary school.  We still have a ways to go.  But when I go to school groups or work with kids in libraries, I see children of all colors, children with hijabs, children with yamakas, and children with purple streaks in their hair.  And I see parents who don’t make a fuss, or necessarily notice the diversity.

If only Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been able to live long enough to see his legacy.  His dream lives on and is being fulfilled a little more each day.

Have you experienced racism or discrimination because of your differences? Do you see any progress where you are?


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Fuel Your Creativity

It’s January. It’s cold… and the henna biz has slowed down to a crawl.  It’s the time of year where I find myself overwhelmed with shoulds (should stop eating candy, should lose 20 lbs, should exercise daily, should clean the house, should…) and momentarily forget to nurture my creativity. It’s this time of year when I’m in danger of burnout…. I never burn out when I’m working like a maniac; doing henna and art is kindling for creative fires.  I burn out when the fire stops burning, when I lose my sense of sight and I begin to wonder who cares.

Fortunately, I found an inexpensive jump-start class from Kat Sloma and her Kat Eye Studio called: Fuel Your Creativity. For seven intense days I get assignments in my inbox.  When I’m done with my homework, I check in with the Flickr classroom to share my work and see what other folks have done. After 2 days, I’m already feeling more alive.

Here is my favorite image from today’s assignment: Walk by Number.  We were challenged to go for a walk (anywhere, indoors, outdoors, wherever) and every 50 steps or once a minute or some other fixed interval, to just take a photo of where we were. The idea was to open our eyes to see things we might not ordinarily notice. I walked around my neighborhood — and ended up having an interesting conversation with a neighbor who wanted to know what I was taking pictures of and why… my favorite image is actually of a plant that is right outside my front door.  I walk past it a zillion times, and because of today’s assignment I looked at it, AND it’s budding! What a reminder to me to be aware! I almost missed the wonder and beauty because of my busy-ness.

budding Euphorbia

A Euphorbia in bud, ready to burst into bloom in a few days… and noticed today!


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