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Monday, June 16, 2014

Bracelet Ministry

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I have always liked beads and buttons.  I use them both in my own arts and crafts, but also in my ministry with the people of Ukraine.  I have what I call my "Bracelet Ministry."  That is where I gather youth girls and sometimes ladies and we all make bracelets like these above.  Women always love bracelets.  I have folks who send me the beads or old jewelry that I take apart to re-purpose for bracelets and other crafts.  These are a few I made above.  I do that, wear them and from there often give them away.  I love doing that.  If you have any bead necklaces,  bracelets or out-dated jewelry you don't want, please send them our way.  We make smiles with them.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


I've been asked to show my feathers.  I can't tell you why I've been on a feather kick except that I like birds (2 bird themed altered books already completed) so I guess it is a natural to like feathers too.  These two are cardboard (recycle), Sharpie pen, markers, glitter and pearl paints.

These were pretty easy too.  I used double-sided tape on the wire and placed between a piece of music paper folded in half.  Then I cut the shape I wanted, feathered with more cutting and spray/glittered.  Easy peasy, try it.

Markers and Sharpie pen.  Free hand-cut.
These pretties were hand-cut from a candy box.  The cardboard was so pretty in it's silver and gold that I thought, I must do something with them.  I used an ordinary pen (ballpoint) that just so happen to not work for the engraving.

More recycle with these from some product cardboard headed to the recycle bin.  These I painted with watercolor in light pastels.  Then used black Sharpie pen to draw.  Over that I used glitter glue and some pearl paints. Leaves, feathers, whatever you want.  Just fun to do and great to do in front of the TV.  Give it a try.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Though life has been rather chaotic with all the political action in the country we try to keep a  semblance of normality in our day-to-day activities.  Sometimes that is difficult.
 This group of ladies and I have been crafting together for several years now.  We've done a prayer journal, a min-book and now we do cards, which is always a useful craft to give friends.
 Most of them have children and they are in a church about 45 minutes away from where we live.  That sometimes hinders our winter classes, but not often since the busy highway that connect us is usually clear.
 My thanks to all those of you who have sent lovely materials that they use in their creations.
They have joy over doing them and I couldn't do it without your help.  Bless your hearts.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I was honored to have my work featured and an interview on another artist's blog.  Hope you like it. You can see more here:    http://www.melaniestatnickart.com/#!featured-artist/c1f13

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


These are a couple pages from a large 10" x 14" altered book I'm doing for a year-long class called Life Book 2014.  This was a lesson on using spray inks by Tamara LaPorte.  It was fun.  The page was gessoed and stamped. Dylusion inks, sent by my friend Cynthia Henderson in Texas, were sprayed and blown.  The silver leaves were hand-cut from a foil coffee bag.

Friday, March 14, 2014


In celebration of spring this is one of the latest pieces I did as part of a year-long art course I'm doing called Life  Book 2014.  Nothing like a weekly assignment to keep you turning out the art work.  I do well with that sort of pressure.  Plus I'm always preparing for classes I teach and crafts I do with the kids in Sunday school  All of this with the back drop of possible war in Ukraine.  As you think of me, pray for peace.
The sun was a saw blade left behind by the roofers last fall.  I picked up several around the yard.  Some half pearls and glitter on top of yellow paint and waa-laa.  This is done in a 10"x14" altered book.  Though you probably can't see it, there is some found poetry in a couple of the flowers.  Left pages says, "Family, where everything begins and love never ends."  Right page, "Thank you for a house full of people I love.  Amen."

Monday, December 30, 2013


This year went so fast.  2013 is about to end.  Did the year go the way you expected?  Did you have some disappointments?  Maybe some unexpected delights?  God doesn't promise that all will be roses, but he does promise to take care of us, one day at a time.  If we can have a heart of gratefulness in all things, we will have joy.  If we have an expectancy of good and look for it, God will bless that attitude.  I made a decision a number of years ago to exercise a grateful heart....to look for the things I should be noticing and glad about....to count my proverbial blessings.  Has everything been roses since I made that decision?  No, there's been death, illness, injury, and more, but as I look back, the Lord was with me through it all and gave me peace.   As you go forward into this new year, why don't you make a decision to "rejoice and be glad in it."  I hope you will.  You will never regret.  Happy New Year to all our friends.  We love you.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Gelli Printing

Love this.  I just have to do more Gelli printing.   No Gelli plate, you say?   This can be done with an old mouse pad or a piece of craft foam.  I've tried it both ways and it does work.  Have fun.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


France Papillion does "Journal on Monday" every week and she is quite the creative.  You'll enjoy her take on making stencils.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


I started this art journal layout wanting to do something to demonstrate home made stencils to my students in our altered books class.  As an American in Ukraine I don't have access to all the goodies offered in the big mega-stores in America.  And I don't want to teach my students techniques they can't repeat on their own.  Now, I must admit, as I roam the internet or read a Stampington publication, I sometimes desire those new materials and goodies I see out there.  The flip side of that, not having them, can sometimes extend one's own creativity.  So the stencil figures you see here came from figures I cut out of magazines.  Rough cutting I glue to cardboard, then cut out again accurately.  If careful with your cardboard cutting step you can end up with both a stencil and a mask.  Here I used the cut-out mask and dabbed paint around it.  The leaves in the lower corners are what were left from a leaf stencil.  I used regular household spackle plaster and pushed it thru the cardstock stencil.  Being paper I had to throw it out after these two.  Now if one could laminate these they would last a lot longer.

By the way, I called this an art journal and it is, but all my art journaling is now done in altered books. This is an Amway soft cover catalog we didn't need.  Anything bound is subject to my scrutiny for an altered book. . . softecovers included.  And it has a spiral binding that will be fun to hang pretties from to decorate.

I also noticed that this page fits well with a challenge that is going on now at Kat McNally's blog, "words to soothe the weary soul."  Self-compassion is today's prompt.   The words on my page are a reminder that when we are tired and depressed, the morning comes and all looks better.  I learned that lesson years ago.  Now, I don't take my thoughts and emotions so seriously at night....I may just be tired.  Kat's blog:  http://www.katmcnally.com/2013/12/reverb13-day-19-self-compassion.html?showComment=1387432800751#c8887281586528337712

The last step was to add the verse on the tag:  "Weeping may endure for a night, but Joy coeth in the morning."  Psalm 30:5.

Hope you like it.  I love reading your comments.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Be Friends with Failure

 As artists we always have this interior critic running a dialogue.  "Is this good enough?"  You're not really an artist."  "Should I really be doing this?" This little cartoon will help your perspective.  Click the link below to go to "doodle alley, comics that nourish."

Be Friends with Failure

Sunday, December 1, 2013


My dear sweet husband did this on digital format for me.  So nice to be able to show the whole book at once.   It was fun to do and includes some work from art friends and some of my own little pieces.

Monday, November 18, 2013


This has been my silliness of late.  I did the lower ones first from hymn sheets of an old book that was put in it's binding upside down.  So it made a perfect candidate for crafting.  What you can't see here is the beautiful shimmer they each have.  The upper group was made from cardboard headed to the recycle bin.  I really do like birds so it stands to reason I would like feathers as well.  I'm already making more on this feather kick.  Not sure where it will end, but some have already flown off to other parts of the world.  I also shared this idea with my class  and they all wanted to make some as well.  So fun!  Hope you like them.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Altering Books in Ukraine

I have such fun with these high school students.  They are learning to alter books.  Most never even knew of such a thing.  As you see above we started out last Saturday with a video....they were intrigued.  Here are the backgrounds several did.  I think they are off to a good start.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


This is a 1947 Webster's Dictionary page I used for background.  I always keep a page near by to wipe excess paint off my brush or to test a stamp or stencil.  That leads to some pretty pages I then use in other projects.  The delicate dictionary paper is glued to ATC (artist trading card, 2 1/2 x 3 1/2") card stock to give it strength.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


 Not too long ago I had the opportunity to do something I've wanted to do for years... make my own paper.  Sometimes I do crafts with some of the neighbor kids and I wanted to give them this experience.  The above picture is the paper pulp sitting in it's tray with geranium flower petals and some sparkle stuff.
 Our first attempt was a disaster.  The paper was the thickness of a cookie.  So we did some other crafting that night and I decided I needed to work on it some more myself.  This page has leaves.
 After literally years of looking in Ukraine, I found this plastic vat that was just the right size to fit the screen I had that has to dip down into the mixture to pick up the paper pulp (made with my blender).
 After many tried for days to follow I finally got down to TOO thin where the paper ended up with holes as above.  So with much trial and error I figured it out.  The kids came back over and we made cards with the hand made paper.  They really liked that and we had such fun.
 This is my play with paints and some stencils.
 From the paper I made I have done my first signatures for a bound book.  Signatures are the folded pages that go into it.  I've made many mini-books in the past, but never binding my own so this was a first for me. 
 I also made a cover for my signatures and bound them with ribbon.  I'm far from done as I've yet to decorate the cover, (except for a bit of spray color) but I won't do that until I decide what I shall use it for.
For quite some time I debated what I would do with this book when it was entirely finished.  Finally I came to the conclusion I couldn't do anything with it.  As simple and maybe even a bit crude as it is, it is my first bound book so I must keep it.  One more checked off the bucket list.  What do you think?

Friday, October 25, 2013


This video won't interest you unless you are into Gelli printing and if you are you'll love her ideas.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


In September Jeff and I took a trip to the town of Kachanivka, east of the capital,  Kiev, to see a castle.  Pristine and stately, it was owned by Pyotr Rumyantsev, Catherine II's Viceroy to Ukraine. He sold it to a Ukrainian who collected Hetman weapons, and under the Soviets it became a penal colony and tuberculosis hospital. They left the scene (thank God!) and now it is a National Historical and Cultural Preserve. A very peaceful and interesting place to walk.
As we toured the castle I was pleased to see examples of native art and many other artifacts.
 I especially loved the dolls and weavings as is evidenced by my photos.  Interesting that there are no faces on these dolls.  Wish I knew what this represented.
 I like the agricultural theme of this weaving.

 Orange and red...very traditional colors in Ukraine.  The word for red means "beautiful."
 An overview of the room and more dolls, some with faces.
 I just love the workmanship and detail in these dolls.
 A rich heritage of art.
Hope you enjoyed this little tour of Ukrainian art.  I love it when you leave messages and would be honored if you followed on this blog.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


 Last week we were required to take our car out of the country to re-register here.  So what do you do when you're trapped in the car for hours on end? 
 We live near the capital of Ukraine, Kiev, which is fairly central in the country.  So anyway we go is a drive.  Since my sweet husband Jeff likes to drive and since I like him to drive, I'm free to come up with projects to do on the road or where we're staying overnight.  This was one of several. 
 I haven't decided whether I'm done or not, but I haven't moved forward either with it since returning.  Any suggestions?  I'm open to ideas.  Hope you like them.  For anyone who's wondering, they were done with Bic Mark It permanent pens.  In addition I used a Gelly Roll pen in white Uni-ball Signo to clean up some of the places my hand lost control (bumps in the road).
Blessings from Ukraine,  Coleen

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Saturday, September 14, 2013


I look at a lot of tutorials.  I do that so I'm a better teacher in my classes and of course, to grow in my own art.  So when I find one that I like I post it here on my blog or on my Facebook art page which you can find here https://www.facebook.com/vintageterrace2.coleenfranks.  I think you'll enjoy this one too.  Let me know what you think.  She has a nice and simple approach.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

VINTAGE FABRIC LACE BOOK by alittleshabbychic

This is one of the most beautiful books I've seen, but then I really do like doilies and lace having collected it since I was in college (and that was eons ago).  Enjoy....

Sunday, September 1, 2013


You'll enjoy seeing how Andrea Gomoll of Germany works.  I really like how she did her background.  You will too.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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