art is all around us. here i will share my personal experiences and passion for all things art! thanks for stopping by, feel free to share a post and check in again! xo

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

relief beads

I spent the day with a great galpal of mine today and I shared with her a great gift that I love and personally wear. She suggested that I share this great info here on the blog and so here are relief beads.

Relief Beads are handmade from sand by tribes in Africa and are currently being assembled by refugees in Darfur. These decorative and beautifully simple bracelets are neutral and match anything you wear.

Each one is hand made and greatly unique. I love wearing mine every day.

Relief Beads especially supports the refugee women making Relief Beads at the Women's Development Center in Darfur and is currently raising funds to provide relief to malnourished children and build a Children's Malnutrition Center.

You too can help support the women of Darfur by purchasing one of these bracelets for yourself or for a friend. If you are in Warwick, NY or the area of the Hudson Valley you can pick one (or two) up at Mima's ( or you can click on the title of this blog post and it will take you too the Relief Beads web page.

They really make a statement when you wear them - both fashion and for women!

Be Well and Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

16 days of christmas on where women create

"Where Women Create," a fantastic women's art magazine featuring the wonderful talents of female artists all around, is hosting a fantastic event on their blog, "The 16 Days of Christmas."

Be sure to check it out! Great art up for your winning! Lottery drawings will be done to select winners for a wide selection of art!

Be Well and Enjoy!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

tony's- taste of new york

The holidays are here and we are looking for ideas for presents and yummy treats to share with family and friends and I have a great artist to share with you today who makes her masterpieces out of edible items!

Toni Rucker is a 44 year old full time bookkeeper, sales associate for The Gap and most of all a great cake artist. She has built a great side cake business Tony’s – Taste of New York from the ground up!

Toni's passion for treats began when she was a young child sitting in the kitchen and watching her grandmother and auntie cook and her grandmother would let her help with the biscuits and cut the dough for the pies and she enjoyed even the smallest of jobs in the kitchen!

Toni's mother was also a successful cook and baker and showed her the ropes of cooking and baking but her real love of cooking and baking was discovered in Mrs. Dorowski's 7th grad Home Economics class and she really made an impression on Toni. I have to say, on a more personal note, as a teacher this is such a great moment, when an adult finds his/her true passion and love of something introduced by a teacher!

But back to Toni.... at the end of the course she was presented with an award for the "Best Student," much to the shock of Paula Oakes, a fellow student who thought she was going to get it because she was good at sewing and got the award for that and that of Toni, but she did deservingly received this award.

We fast forward ahead to 2007, when Toni took a Wilton Cake Decorating course instructed by Yvonne Lafayette and earned a certificate. Yvonne inspired Toni to start her own business and encouraged her because Yvonne also working a full time job and teaching Wilton on the side.

It was Toni's mate, Rakim, who gave her the final push and told her that she had talent so, he came up with the name, "Taste of New York," which is an acronym of her name Tony/Toni.

Toni began creating cakes for friends and family and then people started requesting more and more so that’s when she knew she had some "tasty" that was wanted by the masses.

Now, over two years later, she has made many wedding cakes, baby showers cakes, birthdays cakes, and any special occasion she has been called upon. She also does cookies and other delectable goodies!

Toni dreams of going to Paris to culinary school and is inspired by Duff of Ace of Cakes, the Cake Boss and many others.

Toni's most recent interest and passion is in catering and planning events. She has worked to plan and cater baby showers and
also catered an art show in Newburgh, New York.

Toni is in the process of starting her own website and can be reached by phone at 845-343-6769 or by email at for a list of prices!

Here are some testimonials from customers:

Sonja Ferreira I just want to tell you that THE CAKE WAS DELICIOUS!! Everyone loved not only the design, but it tasted fabulous as well!! lol you know how sometimes in the cake world you have to sacrifice taste for design or vice versa? Well...Tony's Taste of New york has it all!!
Thank you!!

Roy Carey This cake was amazing I still talk about it till this day!!!!!

Dhyana Hamilton-Floyd Tony's Cake are amazing! If you need references let me know! This was the wedding cake of our dreams! You should definetly choose her if you want a unique cake....*****5 stars from me....

So take a Tast of New York this year or think of this great artist for your next event!

Be Well and Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

snow day!

What a day! Who doesn't love a good snow day?! It certainly looks like many school children and teachers shared a snow day today with the giant snow storm that canvased the US today, from California to New Jersey! Wow! It was a great day to read one of my favorite books, "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats and take part in some of Peter's snow day activities such as making snow angels, tapping trees with sticks, snowball fights and building snowmen, my personal favorite.

It was also a great day to enjoy sleeping in late, working in the cozy and warm studio in my sweats, and drinking lots of yummy hot chocolate. I posted a photograph above of what my backyard looks like after all of the powdery white while my husband used his favorite winter toy, the snowblower!

I hope everyone enjoyed the snow day to the best of his/her ability, either by observing it or partaking in it!

Be Well and Enjoy the snow!

Friday, November 27, 2009

delightful dara dimagno

Well it is Black Friday and the holiday shopping rush begins.....

If I may, I would like to make a recommendation for that someone special on your shopping list this year. Dara DiMagno is a great artist and is having an end of the year sale of her artwork beginning this Sunday at 9pm on her website. You can click on the title of this post for easy access to her website or you can find her work at and

I am a great admirer of what Dara creates and I have had the pleasure of meeting her and she is just as delightful as her work. I wear a Dara necklace almost everyday and they are real conversation starters. Everywhere I go, people stop me and ask me where I got my one-of-a-kind piece of art necklace and so today I am sharing this treasure with all of you!

Each piece consists of an original antique photograph, an antique watch crystal covering the photograph and other vintage findings to embellish these works of art. Dara is a public school librarian and as a public school art teacher I am a big cheer leader of teachers who share my passion for and practice art making for pleasure. She accompanies her magical and whimsical photographs and assemblage with short messages and/or groups of words from books that she so treasures as well as sealing the backs with a great book page and her signature.

I have quite a collection of her pieces now. The images I am sharing today are all from my jewelry case "Dara drawer" so they are not for sale because they adorn me each and every day. Each one is truly an original work of art and you will not see another one like it!

So check out her work today and I am sure you too will appreciate her diverse and unique body of work!

Be Well, Enjoy and Happy Shopping!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

ta da....

So this summer, you may remember but I was on the hunt for chairs and then in the process of making the old into new to us. Well our journey is complete and we have finished the new and improved dining room in our home. It really is a work of art with punchy colors and character in every nook and cranny.

My husband, Brian, really is an artist at heart and hands. He has built from scratch a hutch and table. No plans, just sketches and ideas of his own. He has so much talent running through his veins. His father is extremely handy and talented with wood working so he grew up watching a master as an apprentice himself. Holding tools and getting up close and personal with jobs around the house have made him the great success he is today! Brian would never call himself an artist, but today I announce that he is an artist and craftsman for all to see his work!

He used old barn beams from a fallen barn next to his parents' house in Summitville, NY. He reworked the wood and built this old world-new table. It will get its first use on this Thursday, Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. I love the warmth of family and food combined with a dash of laughter and watching our family favorite holiday movie, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." It is sure to be another great success as we sit and dine upon these great new additions to our home.

The hutch he built earlier this year from newer wood but really has a great vintage feel to it with the chicken wire in the doors and hammered hardware. 

Brian has outdone himself and our dining room is shining with pride with its new accessories!

I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving and laughs and eats a little too much!

Be Well and Enjoy! 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"follow the yellow brick road"

My play is in full swing with rehearsals and fun festivities. My stage crew students are hard at work priming sets and designing props. My actors are really bringing this classic to life in front of my eyes. Lion is certainly taken on her role with a roaring appeal. She has put her own special twist on this cowardly character and I am so excited! Dorothy has a special sparkle in her eyes and the Scarecrow is really acting out the clumsy nature of this character. Tin Min is searching for a heart but using real heart in playing this role.

This is the 70th anniversary of "The Wizard of Oz." Wow! 70 years later the 9 and 10 year old children of my school are really inspired by the wonderful work of Judy Garland and cast. We too will bring our Kansas from black and white to colorful wonders of Oz!

The movie has been celebrated a lot recently and was featured on TBS this past weekend and I am certain will continue to be played on cable television. All of my young actors are so excited to watch the movie and find inspiration by these greats!

"The Wizard of Oz" is one of my true favorites but I have to admit on having a whole new view on this film after seeing "Wicked" on Broadway. "Wicked" is truly my favorite Broadway show I have seen of all time and I have seen many shows. My husband and I love seeing Broadway shows and I continually am amazed by what they achieve at that level and dream of my own young students acting up on that stage one day too!

So follow your own yellow brick road today and enjoy this classic film or Broadway musical soon!

Be Well and Enjoy!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

we're off to see the wizard

Tomorrow begins my Drama Club season and we are "off to see the Wizard." I have been directing the play at my school for three years now and I so enjoy each and every year more than the last. This year I have selected the "Wizard of Oz" to present to our audience in March. We have months of rehearsals and preparation and it all begins tomorrow!

I feel the same excitement on night before the first day of school. I cannot wait to see all of my 4th and 5th grade students audition for this classic. It is the 70th anniversary of this film and has been recently restored. So I would recommend a revisit to this great flick!

I so look forward to casting this fantastic play and many more adventures in Kansas and Oz!

More to come on tackling this transition from students to actors!

Be Well and Enjoy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

park ave conquers storm king

On Friday, I took the entire 2nd grade class from the elementary school that I teach art at to Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, NY. This is my fourth trip to Storm King with my students/young artists. We so enjoyed our time out and about in the crisp fresh air.

All week was so beautiful and Friday's weather report had threatened to have showers but the clouds held the rain back until after we left and we thank Mother Nature for that gift. We always seem to time it right so that we can truly enjoy all of the majestic colors of the fall landscape around. As one of my students said, "It is a great time to admire the leaves with the sculptures."

Storm King is such an amazing sculpture garden realized over acres and acres of what used to be farm land. From Andy Goldsworthy's "Storm King Wall" to Mark Di Suevro's "Mother Peace" these sculptures really compliment the earth around them.

We walked and walked and stopped and rested on the cold fall ground while sketching the amazing structures around us. We walked under and around Alexander Calder's "The Arch" and the children guessed at what these masterpieces could be such as giraffes walking along the ground. 

Every year, without doubt, as the buses pull up the children stop in a quiet moment as they first spot the enormous artwork and then they begin calling out to me in sheer joy and excitement that they see the artwork and how excited they are. 

There is nothing like the awe of young children and art. None of the children said, "I don't get it." or "What is it?" or "I could do that." They all thoroughly enjoyed each and every second of it all. They are all inspired and excited about art.

By the time the trip was over, we were all worn out from the overwhelming excitement of being among such large scale great art and the crisp cool air that the bus ride home was a quiet time of reflection and rest.

I hope you will all take time to visit Storm King as it is so worth while. I spent a lot of time there in my undergraduate college days; sketching, photographing, writing poetry and just enjoying this amazing place. I like to go alone and with others but there is nothing like visiting with 80+ 7 year olds!

You can check out the website by clicking on the title of this post. 

Be Well and Enjoy!

Monday, October 12, 2009

adventures in art studio land

 Today I am sharing some images of my studio and the goodies that surround me. 

The past few days I have found myself busy in my studio doing one of my favorite things, art making. I have just finished a commissioned piece and was keeping warm during these windy days through the good feelings of art making.

  I have to admit to being an extremely organized and neat individual but my studio is the one place where I find myself letting loose with colors of paints pouring out at every end. I love the marks that paint leaves behind on my tables and surfaces all around. 

I have photographed them and enjoy looking at what the painted marks make. 

All marks matter. There is such a great book that I would highly reccomend by Peter H. Reynolds' entitled, "The Dot." It is one of my favorites and a great read for young children and adults who claim, "I am not artistic." or "I cannot even draw a stick figure." Those are some of my least favorite things to hear from adults because it our job as adults to inspire and encourage our young people to do their best and try all things; also to not be afraid of making mistakes and that all things they make are important.

Marks matter. That is my message for the day. Check out what is left behind when you have painted or made a mess. Think about Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock and the marks he made by using a simple drip method or what he called, "action painting." 

Take some time to make doodles and marks even if you do not have a studio such as mine it is always important to make marks, free and release your inner imagination.

Be Well and Enjoy! 

Saturday, October 10, 2009

fall fun finds around

I always like to look for the little things. Just as Georgia O'Keeffe would have. As a photographer, I feel that I was trained to really look at things and see the beauty in what many would call ordinary. 

As I walk around my backyard there are so many beautiful shapes and colors just waiting to be noticed. I snapped some shots and here is what I have found. 

 In the woods behind my house there are many hidden treasures. I love all the fun finds. I saw a little rock chair. This rock was formed liked a throne for a little squirrel or chipmunk to come sit upon. It was veryintriguing

There were also so many beautiful colors budding around the lawn and trees surrounding my house. I love fall, it is my favorite season. The crispness of the air, the colors, the festivities. It is really enjoyable. 

 It is a great time to take a drive, go to a local orchard, and enjoy the fall because all this beauty will not last long and white flakes will cover the landscape before we know it.

Be Well and Enjoy!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

art today and treasures of tomorrow

Today was a great brisk fall day and I found myself surrounded by lots of great art! I went to Earth Angels Art Show/Barn Sale in Warwick, NY. There were tons of great folk art pieces from hand felted dolls to whimsical pottery and much, much more. 

I have always loved the clay creations of Jill Wiener and I have collected some of her work in the past. The personality in each one of these works is so sweet. There are great polka dots and fun chicks. She has a great sense of humor with the clay and has inspired me to create some fun and "sweet" creations with my students this school year.

 I love these pieces as well where Jill is using great dripping and overlapping glazes. They are really stunning. I especially loved the contrast of those delightful little punchy pink rosettes on the shiny black vessels and pitchers.

 The work of Jennifer Lanne has always inspired me as well. She has a series of new works that are mounted in fun found objects such as antique screens and wood boxes. She had layered some paintings with great metallics and great coppers with tangy turquoises layered over it all. They look great! I loved them all.

Look at this little squirrel with his acorn. What a great little fall friend. He is surrounded by many cute little furry characters. My friend Kathy shared with me how much she loves acorns and I too share her interest and appreciation for such great little gifts left here on earth that many animals enjoy and find delight in. They are sweet little organic shapes. It gave me a great idea for a painting, the relationship between this little squirrel and acorn. 

There were so many fun creations. It was a great day with so much great art to be enjoyed. I loved seeing the diversity of these great folk artists and visiting with great friends and familiar faces of Warwick. I encourage you all to check out the website for Earth Angels art as there are many more great artists and artworks to be enjoyed. You can get the link to the site by clicking on the title of this post. I would also recommend checking out Dara DiMagno's work on the site as here necklaces are real conversation starters. I wear one of her pieces almost daily and they always get a lot of attention!

Be Well and Enjoy!