Saturday, December 28, 2013


I've been under a little stress lately, with work, family and probably the big city life style.  In times like this I seek nature.  It's how I ground myself and attempt to get balanced.  Last week we went to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.  This week Arcosanti.  It's been a while since I've been to Arcosanti, an urban laboratory about 1.5hr drive from Phoenix, just outside of Cordes Junction on I-17 North.  Being thousand of miles and an ocean away from home, Arcosanti is the only place I know that feels like home to me.  It's the raw nature, it reminds me of a home my grandparents own in Macedonia.  Outside of town, with just nature and hills, and dirt and rocks and weeds.  No fancy landscaping, just nature the way it was created originally.  You can live there, in Arcosanti, and if it was entirely up to me, I'd be moving there tomorrow.  But there are others to consider and for now I am back home in our house on North Jay Street. 

Friday, December 27, 2013


I needed to destress, to get away for a moment from the everyday and a trip to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, just east of town was well suited. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Jewelry Affaire

A first time for me, having my work in Jewelry Affaire. Feeling excited!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas sneaked up this year

I am a little bit behind schedule with the holidays this year and still haven't mailed a single Christmas card.  I started making the cards over a week ago, and today I made a little more progress.  

Monday, December 09, 2013

No snow here, ever

My mom tells me they got snow in the midwest. Ah, snow that white beautiful stuff, I sort of miss it. I miss seeing it fall.  I don't miss shoveling it, or being cold.
In the mean time, here in Arizona, we are free to play in the park, with no jackets, gloves, scarves....
I took a picture of the cottony sky with a fisheye camera, and it's the closest to a snow ball I am going to get.  Stay warm, if you are in cold weather. 


Friday, December 06, 2013

Arizona Craft Rave

Tomorrow I am participating at a local crafting event called Arizona Craft Rave.  It's a marathon of crafting, where visitors can learn a quick craft, and make gifts to take home.  I am teaching how to use shrinky dink plastic and draw zen doodle motives to make different items.  Here are my samples.

Hair pins

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Goofing around with the kids

The plan was to go to watch the birds at the Gilbert Riparian.  These two wanted to run and have me chase them in the play area.  I snapped a few pictures of them running, hiding and being happy kids.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Christmas tree is up

I had to work on Thanksgiving Day.  I usually work, unless it happens to be my day off.  The kids wanted to put up the Christmas tree before I went to work.  So we did. 
And today, Black Friday, I am glad to have it off and be home with the kids.  They are playing in their room and I am gearing up to work on my display/tutorials for next week's Craft Rave.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Today there are so many choices of pretty fabrics, or you can even go to Spoonflower and design your own.  Yet, for some reason, I prefer stamping on muslin and creating my own that way.  This time I used a butterfly stamp I've had for some time, and a stamp I bough from Stampington, designed by Colette Copeland.  It's a stamp of a girl.  Perhaps it reminds me of my daughter, or myself and that's why I like it. In any case, here are some ornaments I stamped, stitched and stuffed.   

Monday, November 25, 2013

A date to the theater

The library by our house had a Culture Pass to the Tempe Arts Center Theater.  The play:  The Velveteen Rabbit.  Who could pass two free tickets to it?  So I took Maggie to see it.  Her first play and she enjoyed herself.  I think I found my theater date.  We are planning to go next month again to see The Cat in the Hat.  
I used to go to the theater a whole lot more before I was married.  About every couple of months.  But I don't think my husband enjoys going, so somehow I've gotten away from going too.  

Maggie and I had a great time together.  It was a cloudy and rainy day and after the play we ran (or rather she ran, I chased her) around Tempe Beach Park.  Here are some photos of that.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Neck ties coin purses

Some time ago I got a sweet deal at the thrift shop by my house: two grocery bags full of ties for only a few dollars.  I couldn't really see how many, or all of the designs that were inside the bags, but I took my chance. I washed them and some of them got distorted, which was even better.  I like imperfect things, the more imperfect, the better.  And last week I ripped them apart and started making little coin purses.    
On a side note, the tomatoes I planted last May, that produced nothing during the hot summer heat, are finally making tomatoes.  These are the little cherry tomatoes.  My favorite.  Like eating candy, pop them in your mouth and squeeze the juice.  Mmmm!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

You can't please everyone

The hardest lesson for me to learn: You can't please everyone, so you gotta please yourself.
I keep on practicing this lesson, and it gets easier, it's sinking in a tiny bit at a time.  The guilt I used to feel when I tried to make everyone happy, and it wasn't good enough for them, that guilt is not nearly the size it used to be.  In a nutshell, the last few weeks, it seems that the only thing that my family members have in common is me.  And displeased with each other, they all turn to me, as if I have to take a side.  A terrible place for me to be in, leaving everyone maybe more displeased than they were before.  What's a girl, a wife, a mother, a daughter to do?
Well....I just breathe, deep, and exhale loud, as if I were making wind and sweeping all the troubles away.  And I do wish I could find a place to hide and cry, but instead I get up, I show up, I am there, doing the only thing I can do: doing my best one minute at a time.
And I also wished I was a bird, or had wings to fly up to these beautiful blue skies and look at the world below and whisper: it's gonna be OK.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


I went to a vintage show/market yesterday, called Junk in the Trunk.  My friend Karen had a display there, and an extra ticket that she was generous to share.  Lots of neat things, that had I had more money I'd probably overspend. 
When I got back, inspired by the experience, I made these bird ornaments.  I used one of my favorite stamps, by Colette Copeland, then stamped, cut, stitched and stuffed these little creatures.  Added seam binding to be able to hang them.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Crescent moons

I made these as a practice exercise to stitch curvy lines.  The volunteer position to teach refugee women to sew was the reason behind it.  I heard that they are uneasy about sewing on paper.  The idea was to have them practice sewing curvy lines on paper because it's easier and also less costly (no destruction of fabric).  But, they are not comfortable with sewing on paper.  I can sort of understand, because my Eastern European family doesn't always quite get when I sew on paper.  I think it's because sewing is supposed to be a practical and useful skill.  Making garments, that's productive.  While sewing on paper is 'destructive'.  There is no purpose.  Except in art making. 
Anyway.....I though if I have them make greeting cards with crescent moons, which are cutouts from reject black and white paper, will go a bit easier.  I haven't introduced the idea to them yet.  So we'll see.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Time to return to work

My two weeks vacation is coming to an end.  Back to my job tomorrow.  It seems that I was off more than two weeks.  It was time well spent, time off to recoup, regroup, to not have to worry about having to be at any place at a particular time.  I did some crafting, I went to NYC with my husband and kids, I drove to Prescott, AZ with my husband and visited some galleries and co-ops, I got a volunteer job to teach refugee women to sew, I took my kids to Halloween parties, I did not sleep in, as I wanted to make the most of my days, I helped my dad search for a job, I watered my plants with no rush, I enjoyed my time off without feeling guilty spending it without a particular plan.  It felt great.
Here are a couple of pictures of the pine forest near Prescott.

I tried to practice some collaging.  It's new to me, I picked up a book at the library and got inspired to work on some house shaped collages. 

And some smaller ATC size ones too.  I hand stitched this time, fabric on paper.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Watch the Gap

Our recent trip to NYC involved a lot of train/subway rides, and standing on the platform, and hearing the loudspeakers repeat "Watch the gap", and hearing myself saying the same to my kids over and over and over.  But all of that also inspired some collaged art. I made these postcards with paper I recently purchased at one of my favorite local mixed media stores, Craft Fusion, stamps I already owned and some brown craft paper (my favorite).

Also I've been learning about Lenore Tawney, and no doubt I was inspired by her work.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tote bags

Ahh one of my favorite magazines, and they were kind again to select my work to be on their pages.  This time it was mini tote bags that I made out of jean legs. 
It started like this: about a year or so ago I took my sewing machine to Omaha when I visited my mom.  She asked me to fix some pants for my nephew.  They were worn out at the knees, so I cut them off and made them into shorts.  I used the cut off part of the legs to make mini totes for my daughter and niece.  I liked the results so much, that I played with several pairs of old jeans, cutting off the legs and making mini bags.  I added some decorations with free motion stitching and handles from pieces of fabric too small to make anything else.  And those ended up in GreenCraft.
The issue is out in November.  I got my copy yesterday, and as usual I was excited listing through to find my page.  :-)  Take a look at the magazine if you get a chance.  Usually Barnes & Nobles carries it, also some craft stores like Joann's Fabrics.  Or you can order a copy on line at

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Well...what started as a funny statement by my son, ended up to a trip in New York city.  A few months ago, he was drinking chocolate milk from a cup that had a picture of the Statue of Liberty.  He said: 'mom, New York City, I am gonna go there in December'.
And so they have been on fall break for the last three weeks.  And I had vacation too.  If you recall, I was going to make a trip to my home country.  And because I once again could not afford a trip home, and couldn't cancel my vacation from work, it seemed as a good surprise to take the kids to New York City. 

'Watch the gap' - I said this over and over to my kids, who kept forgetting to be careful around train and subway platforms.  No one got hurt, so it's all good.

The Macedonian flag in front of the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center.

Kids amaze me, because you place them in a playground with other kids, and pretty soon they have made friends.  Why can't adults do that?  Why do we shy away and barely look at other people who we don't know?

On our way to the Lego store at Rockefeller Center, I noticed this reflection of a building across the street.  I though it was neat.

Coney Island. 

Times Square.