Thursday, November 19, 2015


It has been one of those weeks, you know, the kind where everything you touch seems like an epic fail...from the loaf of bread that would not rise, to the near death experience of a wrong mixture of chemicals while conducting a mixed media experiment, to ruining not one but two hand painted loving crafted journal bindings, and last but not least taping what you thought was a tutorial only to find out the camera was on the fritz!  Small potatoes in light of all the things going on around our world today, very small, nearly invisible, really and truly.
 (Yes I know I forgot to paint the birds other foot, doing that as soon as I am back in studio)
(This was initially supposed to be for a class but I think I have had enough of this particular project)

While I alone cannot clean up the mess this world is in, I can try and repair some of the mess I have made by my own  hand.  I began by spending quite a bit of time in prayer for the worldly mess I cannot handle before tackling the wee smalls in my studio.

After removing all the bindings and pages from the journal covers I was left with two empty shells with no idea what to do with them.  At 4:26 this morning I abruptly awoke with a seed of an idea.  I immediately got up and headed into the studio to see if I could make it work.  I spent time drafting a pattern, sewing, ripping out, resewing, ripping out again, resewing again, until I finally had a prototype ready to test.  It is not perfect, it has some flaws, but I love it anyway, my new iPad carrying case.

If only all the epic failures in our world were so easily repairable by just simply removing all the ugly parts and being able to begin again.  I have spent time drafting a plan of prayer only to see it ripped out of place again and again, its truly a test of faith and endurance when one only feels like throwing up their hands and giving up.  My project is not perfect, nor is our world, they have their flaws, but I love them both anyway.  I refuse to let evil overshadow all that is good and decent and kind.  I now carry the world at my fingertips in my new carrying case which allows me to keep abreast of all that goes on outside of my small sphere but its the world I live in that I carry in my heart and prayers for peace on earth and good will towards all mankind.  

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7


Monday, November 2, 2015


"Necessity is the mother of invention"
38 days of my summer were spent exploring woodlands and waterways from simple streams and babbling brooks, to winding rivers and large lakes, to salt marshes and a deep wide ocean.  Each of these places inspired my creativity and the desire to create in that environment.  Each journey I would pack a little kit of supplies that I thought I might use.  First there was the plastic shoe box but it was too small, then there was the plastic boot box but it was too large, then there was the little brown leather train case but it was too bulky, then there was tote bag but it was too jumbled.  Necessity became my mother of invention.  I had a problem, finding the right amount of supplies in a ready to go traveling container that was flexible in function so I could easily change out media to suit my creative needs, this encouraged a creative effort to meet my need and solve my problem. 

Using two old book covers I designed a small travel size art journal and a book size traveling art kit that will fit in a small back pack:

I used vintage Victorian scrap to collage the fronts of the books with a nature theme:

An old broken harness buckle from my grandmothers farm found in the barn:

A plant press is tied to the front of the book for my nature gathering:

Underneath the plant press is another small nature collage using a vintage French post card and more Victorian scrap:

Pockets hold collage materials and little fabric pieces I can glue, paint, or stitch on:

The next section holds some loose dyed papers to use as collage or paint bases plus a piece of stitchery I am currently working on:

Behind the papers I have clips to hold journal pages while working on them if needed in a windy outdoor setting and a mini paint palette made from an old acrylic cd cover: 

Lastly the back section is constructed of compartments that hold supplies: basic water colors and acrylic paints, small tube of gesso, medium water brush pen, washi tape, sketching pencil, black sharpie, white gel pen, glue pen, water soluble graphite pencil, kneaded eraser, pencil sharpener, 2 spools of thin wire in silver and copper, folding scissors, thimble, needle, and 6 colors of embroidery floss: 

NOTE:  The tubes of water colors were gifted to me and this was the first time I had ever used this brand, I don't recommend them, horrible clean up if they get on your skin, its like permanent marker and the texture and spread-ability is not great.  These will be replaced immediately. 

The only thing that would not fit into the kit were a small set of water color pencils so I packed those in an old Faber Castell pencil tin.

I wanted a small art journal to work in as well as the loose leaf papers and fabric projects:

Hand dyed sketch book paper pages bound into an old book cover:

More Victorian scrap, handmade fabric leaves, and scrap bits decorate the cover:

The Handy Man and I took a 4 day weekend this past weekend and I was able to test out the kit:

My attempt at a young male Cerulean Warbler:

Perfect traveling companions!

I am looking forward to many more happy artful explorations with this kit!

What are your favorite take along art supplies and how to you carry them?


Monday, October 26, 2015


The little waif wandered about the woodlands on a pleasant autumn day.   The sky was blue, the air soft and cool, and the leaves were turning vibrant colors of red, yellow, and orange.  Fuzzy grey squirrels flitted hither an thither chattering away as they gathered up their winter store.  Wee birds twittered high above her head, pouring forth a sweet carol of joy.  All the earth seemed lovely; and the light heart of the child beat in joyous unison with the beauty of nature.

("Woodland Waif" Mixed Media Art Dress by Sandy Babb)

On she sped, pursuing with fleet footsteps the twirling leaves raining down on a gentle wind, making a game of trying to catch them, pausing every now and again to pluck a late blooming wildflower whose beauty and fragrance allured her.  She thought the beauty of these fading things should adorn her wee plain dress of bark,  little cap sleeves were fashioned from leaves and wildflowers were tucked into the mossy hem of her gown.  

Soon she tired of chasing leaves on the wind and began to follow the windings of a rippling brook, flinging pebbles, and laughing to see the white foam dash up or dropping her remaining prize leaves and blossoms to sail as a fleet.  She gathered pretty pebbles and added them her hem of moss, her version of sparking jewels.  Pretty toadstools  growing near the bank were plucked and added to her garment as well.

The snapping of a twig overhead and a soft thud at her feet captured her attention, there before her lay the perfect gathering pocket for her fine forest frock, a small birds nest attached to the twig.  Saddened by the loss of a place for her bird friends to rest, she invited them to travel along with her, thus happily the hours glided by all unheeded and twilight shadows began to deepen

The brook's winding way had led her deeper into the forest; above her huge trees arched their boughs, dark with intertwined branches.  Around her was a tangled undergrowth of shrubs.  She began to grow weary.  It was now quite dark: the rising wind sighed among the pine boughs a song she was accustomed too, her nightly lullaby.  With no bed but the dead leaves, no pillow but the moss tufts, she made herself comfortable and fell asleep where she dreamed of what tomorrows woodland adventures would bring.

I will be having my own little woodland adventure later this week and I can't wait to share you with you my new woodland gear!


Friday, October 16, 2015


(Custom Artwork "Song Birds" 16 x 20 mixed media canvas)

I feel so very bad for my poor neglected blog and pinkie swear I will get back in the swing of posting.  I have been super busy in the studio trying to learn to do video taping/editing and developing a couple of online classes as well as submitting some teaching proposals, making custom art, playing in my art journal, writing, and finishing up some personal art projects.  I have missed my blog friends so very much and apologize for not keeping in better touch.  I am finding that I need to find a better balance between all work and no social media or social media and no work, any suggestions?

In between all this work, there has been quite a bit of joy...the Handy Man and I just celebrated our 35th Anniversary, the grands all had birthdays and are one year older, happy, and healthy, the Handy Man and I made a commitment to spend several weekends camping, kayaking, hiking, and day tripping to have some relaxing quality time together over the summer and have had some fabulous fun and laughter, we will be closing out the season with one last trip soon.

I am will be spending the next few days working out a plan for some open studio time to host an intimate workshop here in my home studio.  I have yet to get all the fine details worked out and am still waiting for confirmation of a fabulous artist who I am hoping will join me in teaching the two day workshop.

I wanted to find out if there is any interest before I go full tilt ahead in my planning.  My thoughts were that this would be a weekend workshop, most likely a Friday and Saturday with four students in attendance.  My studio comfortably accommodates four with individual roomy work surfaces and room for myself as well as another teacher.  Keeping the workshop small will ensure lots of individual attention for each student.  The work shop will include a make and take project, a class kit with everything needed to do the project, demonstration techniques, lots of tips, and bonus lessons from another guest artist.  Also, morning and afternoon snacks as well as lunch will be included in the workshop package.  A bonus of a free goody bag will be gifted to each student.  The class fee has yet to be determined as I await a response from the guest artist but will be kept as reasonable as possible.

So, if you live in the area and are interested or are traveling through my area, or just want to plan a get away for you and three of your friends for an artful adventure here in The Natural State I would love to host a workshop for you!  If anyone is interested I would love to here from you.

My clock says I have been social enough, I need to pack some orders up to ship out this morning.  I hope you all enjoy a beauty filled weekend!


P.S.  To see daily postings of art & nature here at the Quill, you can follow along on Facebook.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


This past weekend I enjoyed a quite summer day hike, as you can see it is still quite warm and green here, the touches of fall color are from heat rather than the actual set in of autumn.  I hope you will enjoy hiking along woodlands, streams, and lakeside with me...



Friday, September 4, 2015


Studio time over the last week has been focused on making a new art journal.  I saw this amazing art journal on Pinterest and traced it back to fellow artist Thespa McLaughlin of Vintiquities Workshop.  Once there I realized she had an online class showing how to construct the journal and I could not resist.   Below is the photo of Thespa's Journal that caught my eye, love the construction!
(Metal & Rust Tag Journal by Thespa McLaughlin of Vintiquities Workshop)

The base of my journal is constructed just as Thespa instructed, from there I took off on my own creative adventure to originate my own version:
(This cool rusty piece was found a couple years ago on my grandmothers farm, this seemed the perfect project to use it on.)


 (I did a wee bit of metal work for the background of the nest above and the copper bird below.)
(I textured my pages to resemble aged stucco yet with a smooth enough surface to still write on.   I then hand painted a bird and leafy foliage on one corner of each page.)

(Thespa had her tags come out of the top of her journal pages, I planned mine where they would be inserted into the side of the pages instead.  I added hand beaded dangles and hand made nature themed wire embellishments to my tag tops not only as a decorative detail but to easily pull out the journal tags for writing.)
(My journal holds 16 hand tinted tags with front and back stampings and journaling space.)
 (My base was an old accounting book, the papers on the outside of the book were notes, receipts, and such that I found tucked into the pages of the book.  It was fun to reuse them on the cover.)
Thank you Thespa for sharing your awesome teaching skills and for inspiring this journal!

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