Saturday, March 18, 2017

This is for all of my artist friends looking for a system to use in your studio, classes, and at conventions.  

I wish I had purchased my system years before I did and cannot imagine teaching without it!!! After having a class of 41 students at the HOOT Convention a couple of years ago - with no system - I was determined to use my teacher payment to invest in a system and that is what I did!! Details below ~
Here is the info on my camera system and other items ~
Ladibug DC192 

I have had it for just over 3 years now. When I bought it, it had the highest lumens possible but not sure if they've come out with any others since then. The lumens is important because the higher the lumens, the more clarity in the images displayed or projected - which is awesome for those students on the back row. 

I purchased it on Amazon and it was around $500. The entire system - camera, projector, extra long HDMI cord, XL extension cord and screens cost me about $1400 or less.If you are using the system for travel teaching, I highly recommend getting every thing. If you're purchasing it to record for DVD's, videos, YouTube, no need for the screen and extra cords. 
It's difficult sometimes to know where the plugs are in a room or how far away you have to set up the projector from Ladi-Bug system so the XL HDMI cord is essential.

The projector - Epson EX7230/7235 PRO was around $600 I think at Staples or just under when we price matched against Best Buy. If you have rewards with Staples - it makes sense to purchase there to benefit from the purchase.  You want to make sure that the projector you get has an HDMI input - the older ones do not and the clarity just isn't there using the VGA cord for older projectors.

I have a large screen - quite heavy and not ideal for seminars/events I have to fly to but I do love it for ones I can drive to! It's an Epson Accolade Duet ELPSC80 80"  also purchased on Amazon.

The only thing I wish it did ~ is rotate on the stand so that if I have a long surface/project ~ I can have the length up and down instead of side to side.

The other screen - I purchased on Amazon along with some clips that push into the wall and then you clip the screen to hold it up. Link just below.
Funny enough I think a white sheet would work just as well and at least I could get the wrinkles of out it with an iron - whereas the fold-able screen comes with some nice creases in it from being stored away.

After the last convention where I had to stack 6 chairs on each other to hold my projector I knew it was time to look for something portable. My friend Marianne found this - will use it for the first time at SDP this month

Everything fits nicely into a carry on bag if traveling. The camera system can be hooked up to a lap top, iPad, computer, monitor, etc. so that you can see what you are doing. You can record to a thumb drive or straight to your computer. 
The Lumens company is fabulous with support and are happy to answer any questions you might have. I literally have recommended and sold 12 of them for artist friends - wish they  had a referral program. lol 

I'm sure the system can do so much more than what I do with it - just haven't had the time to explore the other things. 

It has a built in mic so as you are talking, it records your voice to the thumb drive or computer which is awesome. It has a great auto-focus on it and two light sources to help illuminate the recording area in necessary. As you are creating the focus doesn't go in and out like some systems do. It has a remote control so that you can use that instead of the buttons on the device.

Many times, I will record what I'm creating even though I'm not speaking out the instructions. That way, I can go back and watch the video, write up the packet and if I chose to make it into a video - can voice record on my computer. 
Another option - is to pop in a thumb drive to record the next time you teach a class. Take it home, edit and you have a DVD for that lesson.

Hope this helps all of my artist friends looking for a system to record, teach, etc. 
Happy Painting,

Thursday, February 2, 2017


I say it time and time again ~ that it sure does seem like TIME is flying right on by! Maybe that's how it's always been and I just never started paying attention to it like I do now.

It truly seems like yesterday I was changing diapers and volunteering at my sons schools - which I LOVED!!

So January 2017 is gone and we usher in February - a short month - so it will no doubt fly by even faster!

My plan to create every day took a sudden detour on Christmas Eve when I injured my right hand - my predominate hand - my painting hand! Good lesson learned though ~ that it's okay to make 2, 5, or 10 trips to the car to bring stuff in and not try and do it all at once! Believe me - I will never do again what I did that day and try to close my sliding van door with one finger! Not only was it painful at the time and still in pain - it sure has made me feel like I'm moving at a snails pace. So......letting it heal as much as possible - in between doing everything that HAS to be done and sneaking in some things that I want to do like painting in my journal!
It took me over a month to start how I wanted 2017 to start ~ and even with some pain still in my right hand and a left torn rotator cuff ~ I feel like the snails pace has picked up a bit!

Speaking of 2017 ~ what a busy and fun year I have ahead of me!! BLESSED that for the first time since I started Travel Teaching in 2015 - I have a FULL CALENDAR and have been booking into 2018!! I continually remind myself of how incredibly blessed I am to do what I love and share what I love with others!! I'm also truly honored and blessed to have companies like Dynasty, DecoArt and Weber that support me and my events!!!!

Here are a couple new patterns that will launch at the Vegas Convention at the end of the month and will also be available on my website.

I still have FREE SHIPPING going on right now for my stamps, stencils and crossbody bags and not only is it FREE SHIPPING - it's FAST SHIPPING - going on the same day ordered if before 5p.m. or first thing the next morning!!

Off to the gym - 2 days in a row since the holidays - WOOHOO!! Feeling like that is an accomplishment after this past month!! Keep reminding myself - one foot in front of the other - many, many times and I will get where I want to be with so many things - not only with my health but also my business!!

Have a TERRIFIC Thursday!!

Sunday, January 1, 2017


I sure have neglected my blog these past few years - insert sad face here! 

Over the holidays, I kept thinking how much I've missed writing on my blog! So.....2017 will certainly see more posts! Posts with my art, my studio, where I am and what I'm doing. Plus some random ramblings as they strike me ~ like this post! 

As most of us do, with a NEW YEAR, we think of ways we can improve our lives, our business, our friendships, etc. Picking a word of the year, a phrase, scripture, are all useful things that can help guide us these next 365 days! My word this year is INTENTION! That's for another post though :)

While at the McTier Farm for the holidays, my husband found this piece of wood laying in the fallen leaves down by the pond. The perfect circle where a knot once lived was gone and an idea for a picture popped into my head.  My husband was holding the piece of wood but was too shaky (the first picture) and my niece (steadier hands) held it for the second picture. Two pictures and two different areas of "FOCUS" from the camera. 


One day riding in the car and chatting with my honey - this blog post came out of nowhere - start to finish - all the words! I grabbed my phone and typed it all up so that I could remember it - cause we all know when we say "we don't need to write it down - we'll remember it" - we don't. 

So here goes.....

Focus - noticing the differences in these photos made me think about the difference in how I FOCUS sometimes.
In the picture above, notice how the camera focuses on the piece of wood and through the knot hole everything is blurry. Then when the focus is shifted and a steadier hand is holding the piece of wood, the wood piece is blurry and through the knot hole ~ the focus is clear and precise!

So here's a question to ponder.......

Do we focus on what is right in front of us or do we look forward and focus on what is ahead?
Neither is wrong but the perspective is certainly different. It's important to be present and focus on the things in front of us ~ our family and friends, our business, even ourselves sometimes.

However, it's also important to focus on what's ahead so that when it becomes the present it's as clear as it is through the knot hole below.

Speaking of, how cool is it that that perfect wood knot left such a wonderful circle. Round and balanced just like we need to be in our lives and in what we decide to focus on.
What am I focusing on in 2017! I can tell you I'm not focusing on turning 50 this year! lol
What I am focusing on in addition to my usual - my love, my boys, my home, my family and friends - my FOCUS is going to be on KINDESS, GOODNESS, LOVE, and POSITIVITY

I hope 2017 brings you lots of productive FOCUS!

Don't get so caught up in the "FOCUS" that you're not enjoying the journey!

Dream BIG!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Customize Your Pencils

I know you can get decorated pencils at just about any store these days but I thought about customizing my own with some of my favorite papers by DecoArt.

They are super simple, super fun and you could customize your pencils to fit any decor, event, etc. with coordinating papers.

I got a super deal on this box of 72 pencils from Staples - only $3! Hello!!

On the back of the paper I measured out and drew lines for 7" long and 1" wide.

Next, I cut the strips of paper, applied DecoArt DecouPage Medium to the pencil, laid the pencil in the center of the paper - lined up with the silver topper and rolled the pencil. You want to make sure you do this on a flat surface. It didn't work so great rolling it on the tile due to the grooves/grout lines.
Add more DecouPage Medium to the end of the pencil as the paper slightly overlapped and then I added more medium to the entire pencil. Stand the pencil up with the eraser leaning up against it so that it can dry.

Take an emery board or piece of sandpaper and shave off any excess hanging down where you'll sharpen the pencil.

Ta-Da - customized pencil!! Just think of the possibilities!!

You could stamps some paper or stencil 'small' words on to some paper and make personalized pencils too. Have fun with it!!

Happy Creating,

Monday, January 11, 2016

Storing and Organizing Stencils

The use of stencils in my artwork has increased and therefore I've amassed quite a collection of them. I use to keep my stencils in page protectors ~ in a binder (the ones that fit anyway) but needed to find another solution with my growing collection.

I now store them in scrapbook storage boxes that I get at Michael's. I love it when they have them on sale! I have 6 full boxes that are organized but when creating I was wasting so much time going through the boxes to find the stencil I wanted to use on a project. I have the boxes labeled by brand (4 of them are DecoArt Stencils to include Tracy Moreau Stencils & 1 box is full of Creative Arts Lifestyle Stencils by Patricia Rawlinson). Not only do I have a lot to pick from, but as I go through them, another thousand ideas flood my head with future projects. I LOVE it when that happens ~ but not when I need to focus on getting a project done - lol!!

So......I came up with a little storing/organizing system that has worked really well for me and I wanted to share it with you!
I cut off the picture of the stencil on the cardboard packaging and put them on a metal ring so that I can thumb through them ~ my version of stencil swatch cards. As my collection grows I see the necessity of having to have several rings of stencil swatch cards ~ like one with flowers, one with letters, one with borders, etc. I also have several stencils that did not come with a picture or cardboard packing so plan to take pictures of those, print them off on cardstock and add them to the ring.  This has SAVED me a TON of time when I'm in the middle of creating. I can look through the ring quickly, pick the one I want and then go to my organized storage boxes, pull the stencil and it's back to creating!! PLUS, I have to add that this has kept me from purchasing duplicates/triplicates of stencils (Yes, I've done it before) as I know which ones I have now!!

Hope this helps you make storing and organizing your stencils a little easier!
Happy Creating! 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Trash to Functional & Fabulous Message Board

My sister asked me to make her a note board with chicken wire on the back for her classroom and of course I said I would. The one I'm about to share with you isn't what I made her, I will share that with you another time. So....I had already been thinking for quite some time about what I can do with the wooden frames that are behind a stretched canvas. There are many canvases that for many reasons I've ripped off the wooden framing and well....I just couldn't bring myself to throwing them away. You know that thinking...."I can make something with that!"  Last year I did actually use them and made up some signs for the holiday booth I do with a friend each year. They turned out really cool and were the perfect, lightweight framing that we needed.

Here are the steps I took to create it and at the very end, I list all of the supplies I used.

Well, of course the framing is just that ~ plain wood ~ so of course it needed some sprucing up!
I gave the frame a very thin coating of DecoArt Media Modeling Paste and let that completely dry. Next, I took a DecoArt Americana Stencil ~ Brocade and Berries and using a palette knife applied modeling paste over the stencil, onto the frame and TA DA!! SO love the way it turned out. Added the design around the entire frame and let that dry completely. Don't try and speed up the process with a heat gun or blow dryer - it really is just best to go get busy on the next project and leave this to dry.

 Next, I painted it with DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint - Escape using a 1" Faux Squirrel brush by Dynasty. It only took one coat and covered beautifully! Let it completely dry and then....

I painted a very watery layer of DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint - Rustic over the top. Mix the water and paint on a palette until you get an inky/watery consistency. After I quickly painted over the entire frame, I took a soft cloth and wiped a lot of the watery paint away.  The longer you leave it the darker the color will stain the blue paint already on the frame. If you wipe too much away, reload the brush with the watery paint, reapply and wipe back off with the soft cloth.  Let completely dry!

For the next step I highly recommend wearing really sturdy working gloves. The chicken wire likes to knick ya and make you bleed :(   They sell Hardware Cloth that is in the shape of squares and would work great. You could attach a sheet of cork to the back and make it into a cork board or even a dry erase board if you don't want to mess with the chicken wire.
I cut to shape with wire cutters (very important - don't use your really good scissors), turned the frame over and stapled in place. Staple one side, stretch the wire across to the other side and staple in a couple of places. Repeat for the top and bottom as you stretch the wire so that it doesn't sag in the center.  Once I stapled the entire piece down, I cut strips of foam (you can get sheets of it in the kids section at any craft store) and hot glued them to the back of the frame. I wanted to make sure I protected my wall and fingers from the wires. true "Sandy Style" it just had to have more! So, using my finger I rubbed some DecoArt Metallic Lustre - Silver Spark over the frame lightly and let it pick up on the raised design I created with the stencil. LOVED it ~ so LEFT it! Next, I buffed it with a soft towel and brought up more of the Lustre shine.
Next, I tied a brown organza ribbon to the top (attached to the top of the chicken wire) and it was ready to hang! Now, I have to find an empty space on my wall in my studio to hang it!



Wooden Frame that I took an ugly painting off of (yes it was mine and a very old one that just needed to go)

Brushes: 1" Flat
DecoArt Media Modeling Paste
DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint: Escape & Rustic
DecoArt Metallic Lustre - Silver Spark
Chicken Wire
Soft Cloth
Wire Cutters
Bandaids - yes I used 4
Heavy work gloves (if I had used them I wouldn't have needed 4 bandaids)

Hope you ENJOY creating a message board of your own! I'll share the one I made for my sister once I've given it to her! Have a great weekend and Happy Painting!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Oh how I wish all the pre-planning I did in 2014 to keep up with everything was working out but to put it simply ~ it just isn't! I finally realized I can only do so much in a day!

2015 Sure has started out with a BANG and I'm loving every minute of it - just wish some of those minutes were available to keep up with posting on my blog, FB, Instagram, website, etc. Trying to remind myself to not be so hard on "ME" and do things when I can ~ like now!!

I actually have some really exciting news and since I mentioned it in my upcoming editorial in Interactive Artist Magazine (coming out April 1st)  I thought I'd share it with before it comes out on Wednesday!!

I've been invited to teach in TAIPEI, TAIWAN this summer!!
I will be teaching two Martin/F. Weber wOil projects - poppies and hydrangeas!!
I'm incredibly humbled and so appreciative of this opportunity and can't wait to share all of the pictures with you from my time in Taiwan!
Beyond blessed to do what I love ~ painting and creating! To be able to share that with others too is icing on the cake!!

Was trying to add a great picture of a Hello Kitty plane but it wouldn't let me add pics to my blog
:( not sure what is up with that but it could possibly be related to why I can't open Google Chrome on my computer - insert sad face here!

Have so much more to write but have to finish some details with the magazine coming out Wednesday!! Hope you'll check out all of the amazing projects in the April/May issue!