Art in the Yard Spring Solstice


The summer is nearly over and I haven’t posted my pictures from my show in Land O’Lakes, WI this past spring. The weather was the main attraction that day. It rained and drizzled all day. But the Art Gypsies are a hardy bunch and we hovered in our tents, covering our precious creations and kept a smile on our face. Many people came anyway. All with rain gear, umbrellas and hats. They still managed to enjoy the music, taste all the goodies and coffee we provided and buy a little art. My art cards were well received. A few journals were purchased and one of my baby sweater sets was bought by a proud grandma.




I love autumn. Everything about it makes me happy. When I was a child I looked forward to beginning a new school year. I was sure that this year would be different. It gave me a brand new start. There were new teachers, classmates and new challenges. Well, I’m not in school anymore but I still feel the same way. That’s what I love about the changing of the seasons. You never get in a rut. There’s always something new to look forward to. Of course most people don’t look forward to shoveling snow but I do. Lord knows I have plenty of warm scarves, sweaters, wool socks and mittens. In fact, I have enough to outfit a small army. And what do you think my current projecct is? You guessed it…a white cabled wool scarf. 

I finished my merino wool cardigan. I’ve worn it twice and although it is a little big for me, I still love it.  Now I have the fun of planning my next sweater. I’m, thinking chunky yarn in an eggplant color.  Maybe this time I will get the size right.

Autumn in Arbor Vitae


It’s beautiful in the Northwoods today. Bright blue sky, windy and mild temps.  The wind has taken its toll on the fall colors. They are mostly on the ground now waiting to be raked and hauled away. I love the sound of the dry leaves scraping on the deck. It is so nice to have the doors and windows open. We usually have snow already. This is a very nice surprise. Soon the windows will be closed tight against the bitter winds and sitting in front of  the woodstove will take the place of the screen proch. But I’m looking forward to wool sweaters and mittens. The solitude of winter is welcome after the hectic summer. Early dark evenings are a good excuse for sitting with a basket of wool and planning a new knitting project. And my neglected studio will soon be littered with paper scraps, paint brushes, glue and assorted embellishments. I learned a new technnique for paper and fabric flowers that I am anxious to try. Maybe now I will have the time to create.

My backyard

Behind the wood shed.

Oak leaves are still hanging on.

Ready for Winter

Grown from seed, my morning glories escaped the frost this year and are still blooming.

Art in the Yard 2011


Drizzle  and cold temps didn’t stop art lovers from attending the Art Gypsies annual fall art show; Art in th Yard. Maybe it was the promise of free gourmet coffee, homemade cranberry tea, fresh-baked treats, live music, a warm fire and,  of course,  great art.  The fall colors were subdued by the dreariness of the day but the sun did come out on occasion and it was celebrated with smiles and laughter.  The grounds were painted with the wonderful colors of pumpkins and sunflowers so that added a nice contrast to the grey skies. Discover Wisconsin, a PBS program, came to film the event and that added a buzz of excitement.  All in all, it was a great day for friends to gather, enjoy music, good food and art.

Handmade Woollens/Salmagundi Arts

Watercolor, Wendy Powalisz

All natural, handcrafted soap made with essential oils and botanical inclusions

Dan Benicke


Carol Miller, photographer

Wish Sticks

Woodland Strings

Discover Wisconsin Camera Crew

Pigeon Road Pottery Amy Higgason


Toni Bergeon/Wall Quilt


Preparing for Art in the Yard


Today is a cold fall-like day in the Northwoods. I have a fire going in the wood stove, a pot of artisan coffee brewin’ (Costa Rican), and a table full of handmade soap waiting to be wrapped up for sale. Next weekend is the Art Gypsies annual fall equinox art show, Art in the Yard in Land O’Lakes, WI. My contribution has always been handcrafted cold-process soap made with essential oils and other skin-lovin’  ingredients. Over the years, with the help and inspiration of the art gypsies, I have added bookmaking and collage. This is the second year I have added some hand knitted items as well. Wool had become an obsession lately. I have baskets full of it everywhere. Whatever my current obsession is seems to end up on my table at Art in the Yard. But my soap has always been a staple. This year I have:  Mother Earth, a patchouli blend, Sweet Orange, a spicy, citrus blend, Eucalyptus, and Lavender and Tea Tree. I’ve been making soap for over ten years and I have watched the prices of my ingredients soar. Tallow has tripled in price, lye is almost impossible to buy because it is a key ingredient in making meth. If it wasn’t for a small local hardware store that knows me I would have to buy it on the internet and jump through all kinds of hoops to have it sent in the mail. The essential oils have always been expensive but there are fewer companies that offer it and the price has soared. The end result was, of course, raise my price per bar but I hated to do that. I want my soap to be enjoyed and used by everyone.

This week will be filled with the rest of the preparations.

 We have two new additions this year. Dan Benicke, wood craft and Kathy Furda, stained glass, jewelry and lampworked beads.

Live music, homemade baked goods (free to our patrons!) and a campfire. More about that in part 2.

You never really know when the fall colors will appear but we all hope the trees add their artistic expression to the day.

Back to wrapping my soap and enjoying my coffee. I love fall!





Bright, vibrant colors. The colors of Africa. I am sending these  8″ wool squares today to South Africa where they will be lovingly sewed together, along with other squares made worldwide, to make blankets for the abandoned children and AIDS orphans of South Africa. The winters in South Africa are bitterly cold. So, a family in Australia started this wonderful organization to make and distribute blankets with the help of the hard working volunteers of the Soweto Comfort Club.  They started in 2009 and received more than 30,000 squares in the first 6 months. Read about this wonderful organization at Better yet, pick up your needles and knit a couple of squares. It will warm your heart as well.

Bookmaking Part 2


Here is part two of the bookbinding tutorial. I especially liked how she used Tyvek to re-inforce her cover. You can buy Tyvek by the roll from or just buy an envelope made of Tyvek at a bookstore. I made a celtic design based on the Book of Kells at a retreat several years back and decided to re-inforce it with Tyvek so it would be sturdy enough for a cover. I attached a backing for the inside of the cover and it was not only sturdy but flexible as well. I used a double pamphlet binding. That’s the first time I attached two signatures with a pamphlet stitch. I had directions in a book but it offered little assistance. So I slept on it for two nights and it finally made sense.