Category Archives: Art Projects

Some of my projects!

Creative Juices Flow

Yes, I realize that the cobwebs have taken over on this blog again. I guess I just need to accept that I am not going to be doing weekly posts, or even monthly posts anytime soon. It just is what it is.

Maybe it has to do with the boys not being little kids anymore. They are all teenagers now, and don’t need me as much. They keep themselves pretty busy with their individual hobbies, work and friends. And by this time next week…school. Or maybe it’s because I spend every spare minute in my studio!

Yep, that’s it! We are all spending our time being creative. That can’t be a bad thing!

And by the way… here is a photo of the studio after the outside was painted. It is finished now. My Daddy would have loved it.


Isn’t it so cute?

While I am on here, let me share the boys latest creative talents. I think I’ve missed sharing the last couple of their movies with you. You can always go to their You Tube channel (Trippin Lion Studios) and watch them… but here are the three latest.

Pro Clip Exchange (1 min. 38 sec.)

Justice Breach (3 min. 9 sec.)

Motion-Trigger (2 min. 2 sec.)

I am so proud of all these boys and the time and effort they put into these movies. They have learned so much over the last few years of doing this. JJ, the camera man and editor, is so talented. But like he always says, he couldn’t do it without his actors!

It’s exciting to watch these boys and see where this might take them in the future.

If you have some time, take a look at them.





Filed under Art Projects, The boys

Here, Let Me Just Clean Out the Cobwebs on This Blog

Yeh, five and a half months in between posts a great blog will not thee make.


I know, but let me show you what I’ve been up to.


Remember the little art studio I had built last August? You can check out that post here if you want to.

Well, when I’m not home schooling, cooking, and all the regular stuff around here… I’ve been working on the art studio. Loosing my Dad left a HUGE hole in my heart, so the making of this studio has been VERY therapeutic for me.

I just love my little space! Let me give you a quick tour.

This is my work table (craigslist), and what you see when you walk straight in the double french doors. The awesome triple light over the table is an old chicken brooder light I found at an antique market. I just love it.


Turning to the right, I have a lighted hutch (craigslist) to display some of my work.


And further over, a stand up desk (craigslist) that I painted. The old industrial stool was a birthday gift from my friend Maurene.


Turning a little more to the right, and looking back at the doors, this is on the left side. A little tribute to my loving Daddy, who made this possible in the worst way possible.


Now, standing back in the doorway and turning left is my sink and counter area.


The brick behind the counter is the faux sheet brick stuff, screwed onto the wall, and then I dry brushed white over it. The cabinets, counter-top and bookshelves are all from IKEA. (Love the products, hate the store.) The water dispenser (hot and cold) was another craigslist find. Best 50 bucks in the room! The big thing next to the water dispenser is the standing air conditioner. I may come to like it later on in the summer.

Turning more to the left…



My little sitting area. The love seat & ottoman are off craigslist. I did order the white cover for the love seat from JCPenny. The old ladder, flea market. Oval tray on ottoman, antique store, and another gift from Maurene. The shabby shic quilt on the back of the couch is from Target, and my friend Branndan made me the patchwork pillow. I painted the canvas over the couch a couple weeks ago. The words “I Come To The Garden Alone” are from a lovely old hymn. It was sung at my Dads funeral service.

And this is looking out the french doors into our backyard.


The last detail was finally finished this week, so, this weekend I had a little dedication service & party to honor my Dad, and to commit my artwork to the Lord. It was a wonderful evening.

Our good friend Matt did the service. It was beautiful. Perfect.

Here are some photos from the Dedication.


My friends Ralph and Tina brought me a hand-made sign. Ralph and his son-in-law James are the ones who did the drywall, insulation, wood ceiling, plumbing and various other things in the studio.

Dedication 5-3-14 301




My husband cutting the ribbon.







Image (these two teal chairs are also craigslist!)


Maurene and I made these little roses out of clay (on green pencils) to give out as favors.



 Thank you to all of you who came and helped make it a very special event.

My Dad would have loved it.




Filed under Art Projects, Something Special

Truly Christmas 2013

We had our annual Truly Christmas event last night at our church. It turned out wonderful. Good food, good people and good music! The group that came to play for us was called Purely Acoustic. Three sisters who truly have a love for and the gift of music. It was a blessing to listen to them.


I haven’t heard yet how much we raised last night, but our charity’s this year were One Roof and PTC Women’s Ministry. The Women’s Ministry makes heart shaped pillows for breast cancer patients. They supply several hospitals in our area.

My three youngest boys were servers once again, along with their dad. The boys fuss about it a little right before we have to head to the church, (I think it’s more about having to wear those ties! LOL!) but once there, they are happy and pleasant. Plus, they enjoy any bit of time they can have with their friends.



They immediately head into “help” mode when it is over and help me gather my stuff, load the car, and assist anyone else they see that needs it. (I think it’s mostly so we can get out of there and go home quicker, but… it’s still helpful!) I thank them profusely for helping me out with the event on the way home, and they seem happy that they did it.

Guy and JJ started serving when they were 7 & 8 (I believe), so this is old-hat to them. This sure helps them out if they ever decide to wait tables for pay! Harrison didn’t get to start until he was 11, but this was his second year and he got to team up with his best friend Tucker. They did a great job.

My only regret (and it seems that it is this every year) is, not getting enough pictures. So busy greeting people and making sure everything is going well, that I don’t get to think about what I might want in a picture later. 😦

At least I got these.

DSC_0255 (2)


I only ended up having to make one snowman. And THANK GOODNESS! I never would have gotten them both done. It was a long and tedious process. A great medium for smaller projects, but just too much for something this size. Here is where I got the recipe Paper Mache Clay. Then I painted him white, sprinkled white glitter all over him, and finished it up with Mod Podge sealer. It’s heavy.



The snowman looked pretty good on the stage, but ended up being kind of hidden with the various instruments of the musicians. Ahh well, Frosty will be there through December, so he will get lots of stage time!

Here are the 300 ornaments in baskets ready to pass out at the end of the evening. I did not have to tie all the red bows and stars on them. A special thanks to the other ladies that did that part! And a thank you to Becky and Branndan for helping fill them.

Learned how to do these here.



I pulled my cabin out of retirement this year. Dusted it off, patched it up and fixed the little smoke motor in the chimney. Oh, and I got some hot chocolate scented smoke oil for it. Smelled wonderful!



Can you see the smoke coming up the chimney?



Mailbox on the cabin centerpiece

I had a nice group of ladies at my table and enjoyed the evening very much.


Good times, great friends!


Next year I will not be on the TC committee, so will have more time to spend in my studio making a new centerpiece. I am SO looking forward to that! 🙂

(Update on the studio progress coming soon.)


My hair! I did an up-do deal. I had to watch about 4 tutorials to even attempt it. But for my first one… I think it came out okay.


Now to clean up my messes and get ready for Thanksgiving! So grateful it went well and that it is over. 🙂

Maybe now I could hibernate through the rest of the winter. Please?




Filed under Art Projects, Christmas Time, The boys

An Art Studio

I’ve tried several times in the last few weeks to write an update post. Thrilling, I know… but it just seems weird to me to start-up now and write a specific post like the last two months didn’t have anything happen in them. I just can’t make any of my attempts work. I have four posts drafted and saved… but I just can’t post them. Actually, this one may not make it either. 😦

Mostly, I think I’ve lost a lot of the inspiration I once had, after my Dad passed away. I started the blog five years ago, for my family that lives three thousand miles away from me, as a way for them to keep up with what the boys are doing and see pictures of them growing up. But, now that my biggest blog fan (Dad) is not reading it, and my Mom is blind  and hasn’t been able to use the computer for several years now, it just isn’t the same. But… I know some of my dear friends around the world like to see what is happening at our house from time to time…so, for them… I’ll continue. Or at least try.

Much of the time I am poopy and sad. And I don’t like being poopy and sad around others. Although exhausting, I can “fake it” pretty good when I have to go out and be around people. Some days it’s just too hard to fake. I guess I am not done grieving yet.

But… I am keeping busy and trying to work things out in my mixed up head.

These keys will help.


Back in September, I figured out how to use the money my Dad left me, in a way that would have made him very happy, makes me happy, and will keep his memory alive forever. I built an art studio in my backyard.


My Dad and I had gone looking at little out buildings many times when he would come out and visit. We would talk about how cool it would be for me to have a little place that I could “escape” to and work on my creative therapy. We would gather information, take pictures of the ones we liked, walk in and out of them discussing all the while what we could do to make it work as my art studio. And in the end we would always say, “Yea…someday!”


Well, that someday happened. I’d MUCH rather have my Dad back though. I’d much rather go around looking at the sheds forever with him, than be in one without him. But, since that is not an option, I’m glad that he was able to make the “someday” happen for me. Just wish he could be here to see it. He would be beaming with happiness.

He would look something like this!


And then he would ask a million and one questions. Questions I don’t even think of asking. Things that one would need to know if they were going to do the project right… but that few of us ask.

I hope I do him proud.

I found a local company that builds on site. Dustin Hirschfeld was professional and good to work with. My Dad would have really liked him. He and his crew got this up in two days…and in the rain. Check out their website at Backyard Custom Construction or even better… on Face Book here Backyard Custom Construction. I got more of what I wanted, and we didn’t have to deal with hauling a big building down our long, already broken, driveway.










It has been a very emotional journey for me. At first I didn’t want to tell anyone about the studio. I told a select few with fear and trepidation. I’m not sure why. But I am now getting used to the idea, and it doesn’t feel as much like I traded him in for an art studio anymore. It is a beautiful gift from him… and a wonderful way to keep him with me forever.


My precious neighbors brought me this lovely gift not long after the studio was up. Beautiful sounding wind chimes that say “in memory of Papa”.  *sniff*

It’s still in the process of being finished. Electricity is in. The drywall almost all up, and then the ceiling will be next. I have most of the furniture picked out or purchased already, and am chomping at the bit to get it all done so I can “move in”.


My husband wouldn’t let me have a bathroom out there. He said he’d NEVER see me again if it had one. He’s probably right. I could live out there. Hey… I have no problem peeing in the woods! I could maybe last a few days before having to come home and clean up. 🙂


Sooooooo, besides the art studio construction process,




keeping up with all the feathered, furry and funny rascals,






surviving a nasty cold bug making the rounds,


a visit from my cousin and her kids,


doing three different photo shoots,

Knauta Family 2013


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going to a beautiful wedding,


making 300 ornaments and two life-size snowmen (pictures to come) for Truly Christmas,


the death of a dear-sweet friend (who has made a major impact in my life) from our church,


a 16th birthday party with 10 teenage boys – overnight,


keeping the family “full”, house “clean”, and laundry “done”… I am trying to take some time for myself to meditate and grieve the loss of my Dad. It has been six months already. I just can’t belive it. I miss him SO much.

I do know that I was blessed with a great Dad. I had a wonderful relationship with him and we spoke often. He was a good Papa to my boys and they are all old enough to remember him and all the good times they had with him. All that is a major blessing. So many don’t have good relationships with their parents, or don’t even know who they are. My Dad was a blessing to our family and to many, many others as well. He gave from the heart. He gave his time, his money, his knowledge and his love. He was kind and generous to everyone he met. You did not have to know him to gain a blessing from him! He impacted strangers everywhere he went. Genuinely interested in people, their lives, their family’s and their hearts. I was blessed. And continue to be blessed.

No promises… but I do hope that I will begin to get back to “myself” again soon, and maybe get better at keeping up with this blog. 😉




Filed under Art Projects, Home Improvement Projects, In The News


I’m not getting a lot of time for my artwork lately, but here is a necklace pendant I made for a friend’s birthday recently.


It’s made out of homemade porcelain clay, air-dried and then painted with acrylic paints and sealed.

I’m looking forward to more time in the studio this summer. Well, I’m looking forward to it…doesn’t mean I’ll get it. Wishing is always good, eh?




Filed under Art Projects

A Real Vacation

Where have I been?

It’s not that I fell off the face of the earth or anything. It just so happens that I got to have the vacation of my dreams last week. A “real” vacation. One that doesn’t involve still taking care of everyone elses needs. One that isn’t way more work to get ready for and get to, than it is fun to experience. One that required very little effort and virtually no money!

While the two middle boys went to summer camp,  and the youngest boy got to spend a wonderful week with his best friend… I got to go to a cabin in the mountains and be alone. ALONE… for a whole week!!

It was the most glorious week I’ve had in a very long time.

Not everyone enjoys time alone, I understand that, so it may not seem like much of a fun vacation to those folks. But I recharge and regenerate in quiet solitude, so it was just divine for me. I had time to think. To contemplate. To plan. To relax. To READ!

The brother of a good friend of mine, was kind enough to let me stay at his cabin. The place was incredible. Just beautiful.

Thank you SO much Todd.

It was so lovely that I was, at first, afraid to even sit on the sofa!

I soon got over that and settled in.

With no laundry, no house work, no serious cooking, or animals to look after… I had all day, everyday, to do as I wanted.

I took that time to read, paint and work on last years Year Book. I didn’t even leave the cabin for supplies until the fifth day!

I got to read three+ books, painted eleven water colors, and uploaded almost a years worth of photos to Shutterfly (for last years year book).

I ate lite, fresh and minimally. Got seven wonderful nights of sleep, and only missed the family a little bit towards the end of the week.

This whole idea came about when I was very apprehensive about sending Guy (Gear-Bear’s Chiari Journey) off to camp since he may be put in a situation that he would want to attempt an activity that would put him in danger (with regards to his Chiari Malformation). I was nervous to be two hours away from him, in case something did happen, and he needed medical attention. It’s a rare individual, even in the medical field, that knows what Chiari is, let alone what to do with an injured Chiari patient.

So, my friend offered to ask her brother for the use of his cabin… a short distance from the summer camp.

I am happy to say that both boys had a great time in their first ever week of camp, and there were no medical emergencies! It was hard for me to let go,  but I know that I am in the process of letting Guy take over his own life and make the necessary decisions on his own. He is very responsible and has a good head on his shoulders, so I needn’t worry. (It’s just what mothers do!)

JJ was Guy’s body-guard, and Guy looked out for JJ and his low blood sugar. They took care of each other and had a blast in the process. They had a very cool counselor, and a fun bunch of boys in their cabin. It was spiritually and socially a blessing for both of them. A great week! The best news is… they want to go back up there next year. And Guy even said he wants to work up there when he’s old enough. I am SO happy about that, since I worked several summers at a camp in my youth.

Harrison… well, he lived it up! Got to do all the fun stuff he loves so much. I doubt that he missed me one bit! He was with his “other Mom and Dad”, and got to go hunting, fishing, tubing, swimming and all sorts of stuff. He had a ball!

The pets were all still alive when we got home, but a couple of my plants on the back deck didn’t make it. 😦 But better plants than the pets! Thank you Darren and Dave for taking care of things at home.

Peeps was very glad to see me. She ran right up to me and started pecking my toes! She had the nerve to grow a little while I was gone. Funny thing is that the husband became enamored with her during his time taking care of her. It made me laugh out loud to hear him go on and on about what she was doing, and how fun she was.

I am refreshed, revitalised, and ready to start preparing for the new school year. Which is what I’ve been doing everyday this week. As well as a mound of laundry!

I seriously think that this needs to be a yearly thing. I don’t know why it took me all these years to do it. Never knew I needed it so much, or how good it would make me feel. Now that I know… look out. A week alone is on the books for every summer!

Here are some of the paintings I got done while on my “REAL” vacation.







Take care all,



Filed under Art Projects, Things I like, Vacations

Fathers Day Mug



The boys tried out a craft that I recently saw on Pinterest. I don’t know yet how well it will hold up, but it was fun for them to come up with ideas for a mug for dad on Fathers Day.

I have a special pen that I purchased for just such a thing as this, but I can’t find it. (It might have something to do with the fact that my art studio is a complete disaster area.) But since this link on Pinterest said you can use a plain old Sharpie the same way, we decided to try it.

After drawing what you want on a china dish, pop it in a 350 degree oven and bake it for 30 minutes. I didn’t bake it high enough at first… and then when I did, the colored Sharpies didn’t fair as well as the black. I’d stick to the black next time.

Anyway, after it’s cooled off it should be good to go. Just don’t put it in the dishwasher. I read that it will get messed up in there. (If I could only find that pen… I think that one could go in the dishwasher.) Well, if you have the chance to go out and buy a pen… get the special paint pen that writes on china. I would trust it to last better than this.

(You won’t get Guy’s side of the mug unless you’ve seen the movie Napoleon Dynamite. This is a character from the movie that Guy quotes and imitates all the time! JJ actually drew Kip for him. It’s SO good.)

But honestly, the only thing I know of that is truly permanent is China Paint. I used to do that back in the day. It is my favorite paint medium. You mix this powder with an oil to make your “ink”. I used clove oil… it smelled SO good while I painted! The smell of cloves still brings back great memories. You have to fire it in a kiln though. Which I had. But had to sell it about 17 years ago, after we were married. 😦 Long BAD story. I won’t go there.


I miss it.

Now I’m sad.


I want my kiln.

I saved my money while in high school… and bought it myself.


*heavy sigh*


*shaking it off*

Not going there…

*deep breath*


I’m good.




Filed under Art Projects