I DON'T GET IT?  PPA (pet peeve alert) coming up.  What is with the Santa Clause Parade being held in November...and at that, often around the 15th of November?  Does Santa really come to town 1 1/2 months early?  Do his elves really have all the gifts made and wrapped up?  Is the workshop honestly all tidied up and ready for the next year? 

If so, this is a complete disappointment, a travesty, a loss of innocense to my otherwise hopeful and wishful beliefs about Santa, the Reindeer and the workings of the North Pole.  Tell me then, what does Santa's posse do for the next 1 1/2 months?  Surely not snack on milk and cookies, or else Santa would never fit down the chimney and *wink wink* we all know he already needs a membership package to Gold's Gym for his special Christmas gift! 

This extremely profound arrival of Santa in November is a question I have pondered for the last 5 years...but this year...I am peeved!  Look out Peter Finch, my windows are Open!!!

Would it be so hard to have Santa roll in closer to Christmas...say, in December? 

My one person's opinion is that Santa in November has absolutely NOTHING to do with little children's (and adult's I might happily add) love and enjoyment of him, (close to the capital H him), the magical nature of the parade, the family outing that is promised each year...but rather is our Corporate World denigrating one of the few joys we have left to celebrate our understanding of what it means to be truly innocent! Bah Humbug to that!  Petooie to Corporate Hoohah!  We need Santa!!! 

Today's post is dedicated to putting the HO HO HO back into the Santa Claus Parade by having it in December rather than just off the tail of Summer!!! SQUISHY HUGS, SANTA.

Stamp: Santa (Inque), Words (The Stamp Barn - Heather's Stamping Haven), Background (Stampin Up)
Paper: Cotton Crest Solar White (Neenah)
Ink: Pink Passion (SU), Ocean (CTMH)
Pens: Co-ordinate to ink above
Sparkles: Chameleon Glitter - Warm
Ribbon: Michael's
Hardware: SU


...THE SNO' BABE!  Well, at least she looks like a sno babe to me! This was a treat to make.  It was my first venture into the festive card making cycle.  What better way to start than with a sno-person.  I decided to try my hand at some "un-colored" image card making.  I love it.  Clean, simple, fun.  Oh...might I even add - elegant? (take note...question mark.) I hope you had a great weekend...I had about the most spectacular week I remember having with my 11 year old son.  We laughed, played, talked.  It was easy.  It was a Hoot!  Ah. Got it.  Today's card is dedicated to K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple silly!) SQUISHY HUGS.

"Let It Snow"

Simplicity and Silly: me
Labels: CTMH, SU, Inque, My Aunt Betty Nash


OF CHANUKKAH are almost upon us!  The holiday season is both joyous and chaotic...just enter Wallmart.  I was greeted by the happiest little elves, cute as can be, but then bashed into about 10 different people as I attempted to get down (or was it up) an aisle.  The rush has begun.  I was determined to not get into a downer and headed straight to my destination...the holiday season decoration aisle.  If one is decorating for other than Christmas, it takes a fair amount of creativity - especially when in Wallmart.  I headed toward all that was blue and white (the typical Chanukkah colors.)  Although, when I see what is being done to Christmas cards, perhaps next year I could head to the pink and purple section  Yummy!!!

I found the most gorgeous color of bulbs, in garland, in all kinds of decorations.  Thanks G-d!  You are helping little Samara bring in the Magic of the Festival of Lights for her family.  WaHoo!!!  Now - the ultimate December dilemma...what to hang them on.  Light fixtures?  Picture Hooks?  Wall Units?  How about bringing out the hangers from the closet and fashioning them into...ummm.  NOPE!  I am getting a Chanukkah Bush!  Yup.  If it was good enough for O.C. it's good enough for us!!  But it can't be green.  Oh great.  Snagged again.  Oy Gavoy!!!

I turned around to leave and low and behold...a white, 6' high, white irredescent (sp) sparkly tree that will go with my teal decorations perfectly and still be in the Chanukkah Blue and White Theme!  Yeah!!!  My 11 year old is going to go bollistic, let alone my 24 and 21 year old!!!!  They haven't seen this behavior from me before.  They've seen a Christmas Tree, they've seen no tree, they've seen a collection of snomen, santa's, but not "the Chanukkah Bush!"  So here we have it...our 8 days will be magical.  My children will gamble with their dreidels, we will eat latkes, chocolate money, light the Menorah each night and.....the prezzies will be under The Chanukkah Bush.  Today's post is dedicated to each and every person finding just what works for them this Holiday Season...including a day of going to the movies and eating popcorn!  SQUISHY HUGS.   oh, postscript:  my 11 year old Taylor said it is not right to call the tree a Chanukkah Bush.  He said it is called a Chanukkah Shrub.  So here we have it folks...This is the first year - 2009 - for the Navi/Lacasse/Mandel Chanukka Shrub.  (photo below!) son Taylor and his first Chanukkah Shrub, which I might add he decorated ALL by himself!


In theological college we used to be drilled by opening up our text, pointing to a passage, and interpretting it to the best of our knowledge.  Today, I decided it's time to start doing that with my dictionary - a more intentional way of broadening my 10-word language base...oh 11...I still use the word "gross!" So I closed my eyes, held the dictionary in between my praying hands (praying for a word that I could remember for the day!) and said to myself  "4th word down on the left side, left column."  When doing it with the Bible (at school) it was reduced to :'s!!! of chapters, verses, words, noises, peeps in order to learn what we were supposed to learn, so today's exercise really wasn't ALL that scary!  The word I got was deliberate. Def'n: 1. done on purpose. 2 careful and not hurried.  I'm thinking I'll continue this exercise with my art (beyond today's 'deliberate' card) and see what figures.  Hey, give it a never know what might unfold in your day, your art, your relationships.  Today's post is dedicated to finding a new game to broaden one's mind, body, spirit and soul.  I'm off to be deliberate, again!! SQUISHY HUGS.

Please double click photo to enlarge

Paper: Brighton Yellow Pages, Natural White, Green Galore (SU)
Stamp: Sassy Studio Design (Girl), Unity (words and books/lamp/pagoda), Gina K (Teapots)
Accessories: Ink Black (Brilliance), Copics, Gems (Basic Grey), Grey/Bronze Leafing Pen,  Ring (Scenic Route)



It was a special 8 hours...I woke up in such a happy state.  I can "sense" my Ayla...I can feel her. I can feel her coming home from Australia after having just finished her school term.  Do you get like that?  Your senses let you know what is taking place somewhere else?   Call it deja vu, a 6th sense, intuition.  Whatever words are put to it...I can feel my baby on her way home and it feels GOOD!

Today's card features a piece of Ayla's artwork, which I have modified to be a card.   Given that Ayla and I are both Leo's, this is one of my favorite pieces.  Hurry home my lovely Goddess.  We are all waiting for you!  SQUISHY HUGS. 

Please double click photo to magnify.

Artwork:  Artist - Ayla Mandel (c) 2005
Camera: No color correction used; The pic is a bit grainy because it had to be photocopied to go on the card...I did not want to color correct this in order to preserve the originality and integrity of Ayla's work.
Paper:  Dusty Durango, Natural White, Moss Green, Creamy Caramel (SU) Basic Grey Strip
Stamp: Time 2 Fly - Direction of Your Dreams (Uptown Design Company)
Ink: Terracotta, Olive, Desert Sand, Cocoa (CTMH), Peeled Paint Distress Ink (Ranger - Tim Holtz)
Accessories: Metal Hardware (stash), Cuttlebug folder, Cocoa Ink (CTMH) on brayer


Do you ever wake up, as if having been in a long sleep, and realize you have "lost your power" - (psychobabble) or "lost your mojo" - (pop culture babble)? Well I have, a few times!! 

Quoting a Mexican shaman my daughter and I met a few years back while vacationing in Mexico, "it is possible to give away so many little bits of yourself in various relationships, jobs or 'things' - that it becomes time to have a good talk with one's self and re-evaluate the who, what and where's of your life and gather those bits back up!"  He was very wise!  

This task is mostly an inner process, but can have consequences on the outer if some 'housecleaning' is called for.  Well, this week was just like that for me.  It takes courage to 'have this little - where is my mojo - talk' and even more courage to implement the changes one has to implement in order to 'gather their little bits' back, according to my Mexican friend. 

There are many adages that speak to this...when one door closes, another door opens, out with the old, in with the new.  Ecclesiastes 3:1 (Bible)...For everything there is a Season...says it quite perfectly.  It is well worth a read if you are not familiar with it, and well worth a read if you are familiar with it.  Time to take back our power, dig in the roots that will sustain us for the winter as the long winter nights are soon coming upon us.  We need the sunshine of our inner meditative work to shine brightly within.

Today's card is dedicated to 'thinning out' - to 'simplifying', to de-stressing one's life by finding and re-claiming one's 'lost bits' while standing up, shouting the praises to G-d and singing "I am becoming, one reclaimed bit at a time, the person I've longed to be!"  SQUISHY HUGS.

Please double click on pictures to magnify them.

 I love lime green and couldn't resist taking the picture below of my country kitchen .
The art on the wall was created, a few years back, by my daughter Ayla Mandel - then 17yrs. of age.

Paper: Rich Razzleberry, Green Galore (SU), Classic Crest 80lb Solar White (Neenah - there is a source in Toronto if anyone is interested email me), Photomat (Creative Memories) Cottage DP (SU)
Stamp: Hotstuff (FireCrackerDesigns by Pamela)
Ink: Green Galore, Rich Razzleberry (SU)
Accessories: Martha Punch, Bling $ Store, Ribbon Michael's, Flower Imaginisce and Prima


Things won't stay just like they are!  Hmmm catchy eh?  Well, tonight I decided I was going to work with Transparency Craft Paper.  Oy!  Was I taking on something I knew nothing about.  And...I picked the perfect sentiment and picture, as it turned out.  "Seek the wisdom of the ages" - well, I know my theology...Wisdom is the culmination of both knowledge and experience.  It was clear I didn't have either for this project I was taking on, but the rest of the saying saved me..."look at the world through the eyes of a child."  Ah ha!  progress.  I looked for some "color!" Children LOVE color!  Think Rainbows, crayons, cupcakes.  Saved by the blue we are talkin' my language.  Then I knew where I wanted to go and created the back cover child images.  It all came together and I was pleased.  I'm not where I would like to be with all this transparency stuff, and will likely trott off to Michael's tomorrow and find myself the book that got me into this transparency stuff in the first place!!!  But for was good.  And my child's mind was at peace.  Today's card is dedicated to just being the child for a while.  SQUISHY HUGS.

Stamps:  FireCrackerDesigns by Pamela - Lean on Me
Paper: Basic Grey, Taken with Teal (SU)
Ink: Ocean (CTMH), Citrus Leaf (CTMH), Metallic Silver (SU), Memento Black
Accessories:  Copics, Sakuras, SU Markers, Identipens, Grafix Clear Craft Plastic


Today's post is a GRATITUDE message to April for the ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD...thank you so much April.  I was thrilled to open my blog and find you had gifted me with the award!!  It is a wonderful award, in that it keeps on goin' and growin'...just like love!  Here is the name of the game of this particular award. Once it is received, the recipient moves forward to grace 15 other bloggers, who they have not yet visited and who they are dazzled by, once they discover the new blog, with the One Lovely Blog Award. Reach over to my blog, pick it up and put it on your own blog, linking it back to my blog and ask your 15 top picks to do the same.  It is quite magical as it keeps the circle going and reaches further and further into our artistic community.  I love that!  It's like holding tip to tip stamps, or ink pads, or copics or....anyway, you get the point!  Awww, G-d you have done it again!  You're the greatest! Today's post is dedicted to the wonderful and new posts that I have visited over the last few days.  Please give them a looksi will be creatively moved forward that you did!  Have fun with your own new discoveries.'s not a race, do it at your own pace!!! SQUISHY HUGS.

Enjoy the process and take time to spread the lovely!


...when I have no idea how the art I am working on will turn out!  Take the card for today, for instance.  I began knowing I wanted to use the stamp "Cynthia" from In-Style Stamps.  I love the Cynthia Stamps...somehow I relate to her complete sense of adventure, no matter what she is involved in, as long as it is creative.  I love Cynthia's daringness with color, patterns, her own hair styles, clothes styles and furniture!  Even her dress...It is as angelic and flutterbye-ish as Cynthia!  When I began, I had no idea Cynthia would be an 8" X 6" card, lime green, dusty durango and burgundy.  Isn't life's process just wonderful!!!  Look at that...the colors all belong together, even though at first glance, they don't match.  Aren't we humans just like that too.  Today's card is dedicated to the process of not knowing where you are going but being completely excited, no matter what you reach when you get there...even if (when you arrive) you have to sew up a few new stitches.  SQUISHY HUGS.

Paper:  Cottage Designer Paper, Rich Razzleberry, Green Galore (SU)
Stamp:  Cynthia (In Style Stamps)
Inks: Copics, Prismas, SU Markers
Ribbons: Dusty Durango (SU), Stash


There is no card I could make today that says it better than this video.  I would like to thank my friend, Leah, for sending this to me.  It is truly an example of how each one of us, on this planet, is a beacon of transformation and a message of peace.  It is NOT special people, chosen people, MORE spiritual is each and every one of us! I try each day in my cards to convey a tiny bit of this message - of love.  I know my blog is not the typical "card blog" if there is such a thing.  I guess in some way I've made my blog an extension of my spiritual Chaplaincy work, which is the primary focus of my life's direction.  Perhaps I am better to call myself a Multi-Faith Artist rather than a Bohemian Artist!!!  While my site is not for everyone, I do hope it does touch someone in some small way, each day.  If that is true, I have done my part with my art. SQUISHY HUGS.


...I saw a tee shirt today that said "so you think you can stamp!"  I laughed so much because, as many of you, So You Think You Can Dance - Canada and U.S. are two of my favorite shows.  When I saw the Tee Shirt I knew it was going to be high on my holiday list...So You Think You Can Stamp...Canada!  So, if anyone who is buying for me is watching... I take a medium, love white and prefer long sleeves!!! (or large in a white hoodie!)  Which brings me to my card.  I saw this stamp and fell instantly in love with it.  I love drumming; I belonged to drumming circles while working in the City and it was a rich part of my life.  So, tonight (and there is a bridge coming up) - while I watched So You Think You Can Dance, I had a great time coloring my little Jamaican drummer (as described by the illustrator Mo (Mo's Digital Stamps.))  To color, I used Copics, Prismas, SU Markers, Water with my SU Ink Pads and lots and lots of rubbing with my fingertips.  The background paper and letters are Basic Grey Lime Rickey and the Satin Ribbon is from Michael's.  Also used are Liquid Pearls around the outside of the card.  Today's card is dedicated to all the African Drum Drummers out there! SQUISHY HUGS.

For a close up of coloring/shading techniques, please double click on card.


...AGAIN!  Can you tell by my card for today?  A bit "loud" isn't it.  The stamp is from Inque and is their Aloha Stamp.  Well, when I landed in The Workshop today, I was in a little bit of this mood, and a little bit of that mood...and... my card certainly shows the results.  If I had to give it a name, it would be "boing!" as in a slinky.  I have some stamping, some coloring, some weaving/threading, some painting, some pencil crayoning and markering and sparkling (are there such words - you can already see that artsy blog people use horrific caps, little letters, exclamations etc.wherever we want!!) and...some cutting and punching and gluing of paper. Ah.  My card could also be called "tangential"  just like my reference application to a Ph.D. in philosophy said..."Samara tends to be a tad tangential!"  HA!  What did he know!!!  So, to sum it up, when I tell people I'm a Bohemian Paper Artist...and tangential...Ta Da!  Just look below!!!  Voila.  SQUISHY HUGS.

Everything but the kitchen sink!!!
*email me if you seriously want to know.


...TODAY IS A BIG CELEBRATION FOR ME!!!  It is my vewy vewy first time as a Designer on a Blog and I am so excited I could jump up and down and never stop!  Two weeks ago I entered the CINEMA SATURDAY'S CREATIVE CHALLENGE with my card for the HOCUS POCUS movie and I won!!!  Oh, OK,  they say it isn't good for the soul to toot one's horn ....BUT I CAN'T HELP IT!!!!  The therapist in me wants to now say..."we are all winners!"  Meh!!!  For once, I'm going to resist and tell the therapist to go take a pill!!!  SO, where was I....I now have THE AUDREY AWARD to display on my Blog (get ready, bragging coming up again) a very esteemed award I might add!!!...even moreso than the Oscar Award, for those of you who don't already know!  Hee hee, I am having so much fun...

Well, as part of my humble paragraph above (oh yea Bob) I am called to be a Designer for a week (part of the W.I.N.) on the CSCC Blog.  The Conductresses, Sankari and Brooke, select a movie and the 'brave who dare' ( is a blast and a very user friendly challenge) create a card, following the instructions that are set out for that week's Movie Challenge.  The entries that are submitted to the challenge each week are awesome, fun, surprising!  It is so much fun playing, having watched the particular movie and then witnessing how that particular movie "struck" each person and further, how it translates for each person into a card, box, or whatever their little heart dreams up.

So, I won't hold you in suspense anymore....BUT I WILL ASK THAT YOU GO OVER TO CINEMA SATURDAY'S CREATIVE CHALLENGE SITE.... to find out what movie I designed the following card for.  This Movie Surprise is discussed on their blog today, along with a Sample cards created by Brooke, by Sankari and  by me.  I guess that IS kinda holding you in suspense...and also...doing some really funky promo for CSCC too!!!  Gotta love that...Enjoy!  And pick up a pen or pencil and maybe a crayon too.  The Cinema Saturday's Creative Challenge is open to EVERYONE!  Your entry doesn't need to be a masterpiece, not at all.  The ONLY requirement is that you have complete and total FUN!!!  SQUISHY HUGS.

I took artistic liberty with the picture above (on my blog only) and used picnik software (which is a free site for anyone to use) to romance my card up a bit.  When you pop over to find out which movie this card is for, and try your hand at creating your OWN card for this movie (and you will pop over...won't you???) you will see the stripped down card on the Cinema Saturday's Creative Challenge Blog,

Paper: Whisper White, Night of Navy (SU), Silver Paper (Make It Special Crafts)
Ink: Copics, Prisma Color Pencils, SU Markers, CTMH Markers, Journal Pens, White Gel Pen (SU)
Stamps: Man and Girl (Mo's Digital Pencil Stamps), Wedding Girl (Squigglefly Stamps), Windex Bottle (Samara)
Accessories: Punches (Martha) Pearls (Michael's), Glitter (DecorArt Glamour Dust), Flowers - White (SU), Burgandy (Michael's) and lots and lots of rubbing with finger tips to blend the different color mediums together!!!


YOUR OWN matter what anyone's your life...! 

There is no better example of this than the movie LEGALLY BLONDE, which is the MOVIE FOR THIS WEEK OVER AT CINEMA SATURDAY'S CHALLENGE!  You have to check this site out, if you haven't already...It is one heck of a blast to play!!!

The last 7 weeks I have been homebound with the flu, so I've taken in a larger than my share portion of Dr. Phil, Oprah and Dr. Oz.  There seems to be a repeatitive message, if one mindfully condenses the show messages into one..."no one else is going to live your life for you, so get off your *ahem* and get to it!"  Along with that (a la Oprah) message is one of finding out just WHAT your thing is, and when you find it...DO IT...and in itsy bitsy small it no matter what anyone says.  To me, this speaks of exploring and discovering one's PASSION, a topic my 24 year old son and I were just speaking about together.  We are both in the arts.  He is an accomplished musician.  He put it elegantly and melodically when he told is 'the soul' when referring to himself and his own relationship to his art form. With G-d's help, he found his PASSION, which was only the beginning.  He works very diligently to grow that gift and passion daily!  Well... how can one avoid 'their soul' if they are being true to themselves, living authentically and being honest with others?  In my estimation...they can't! 

Today's card is dedicated to finding out what is 'the soul', 'your soul', 'your passion' and living it all the way - no matter what anyone says - cuz it's YOUR LIFE!!!   SQUISHY HUGS.

Paper: Basic Grey, Stash
Stamps: Mini Fantasy Words (Inque), Quotopia (Inque)
Ink: Dusty Durange, Green Galore (SU) Chocolate, Autumn Terracotta, Desert Sand, Brown Bag (CTMH)
Accessories: Double Adhesive Linen (CTMH) Nesties, Buttons (Basic Grey) Newspaper, Sewing Machine/Thread, Blue Ribbon (Michaels) Ribbon Punch (Ecstasy Crafts) Faux Stitching (SU Dusty Durango Pen)


...SAFE!  It seems not a day goes by where there isn't something on the news about a situation at a school that is untoward.  What happened to the days where it was all "OK?"  I find myself more concerned for my 12 year old than I was at the same time for my 24 or 21 year old, even though it is only now my 21 year old tells me a girl threatened to kill her weekly and that she saw many fights that included knives.  It amazes me that she still managed to come out of high school with straight A's... Maybe my 24 year old has saved his mother from such stories or was saved from such experiences.  Whatever the case, my 12 year old and I talk often about the values that are important to him as he gets closer to entering High School.  It seemed fitting to take my own concerns on the topic and put them down on "paper" in the way I know art.  Today's card is, therefore, dedicated to safety - from the most Jr. of grades to the most Sr. of grades - and that would be, as I experienced in Law School, include having an 83 year old in one's class!  So let's never stop appealing for safety OUT LOUD!! SQUISHY HUGS.

Paper: The Grade School (DCWV - Provo)
Stamps: Magnetic Stamp Alphabet - Rummage (Making Memories)
Ink: Black (CTMH)
Accessories:  Ribbon (Basic Grey, SU, Twine), White Gel Pen (SU), Staples (EK Success)


TODAY'S CARD is created by MY YOUNGEST SON, Hey Taylor...where are you?  I'm writing your blog post...Oops, he's late today!  The witches and goblins held my designer up last night!!!  Dr. Jekyll was busy knocking on doors with Mr. Hyde.  Taylor's card is for his Papa's birthday, who is himself, a Great Pumpkin. Happy Birthday Papa!  SPOOKY HUGS.

Notice all Taylor's creation's of EEK-ee Webs on the card!!!



Taylor used "Taylor's Cricut" (which he lovingly renamed it) for this card

This is where Taylor got the idea of the EEK-ey webs, then added them on the front and inside


Pay special attention to Taylor, my designer's, use of Web Material...extremely tacky and stringy glue.
Paper: Basic Black, Handsome Hunter, Only Orange, Whisper White (SU)
Accessories: Cuttlebug Machine (Wild Card Cartridge), 3 in 1 Craft Glue (Beacon's)


OF YEAR TO ROLL THE CLOCKS BACK...!  This time of year again.  Wow, did that go quickly.  We have just come through October, which was Cancer Awareness Month.  There have been many challenges in the Card making/Craft Industry, highlighting Cancer Awareness.  My card below is an entry to the Paper Pal Arts Challenge, which asks for a "Pink" card with a sentiment.  I've chosen to use "Cynthia."  Cynthia is a cheerful and sprite character, seemingly taking everything under her wings in a joyful and faithful manner.  What a bright attitude this cutie has. Today's card is dedicated to the slogan I first heard from the womyn owners of Flourishes Stamps..."Fight like a Girl!!"  SQUISHY HUGS.

Stamps:  Words (Unity Stamps), "Cynthia" (In-Style)
Paper: Basic Grey, Real Red, Whisper White, Passion Pink, Taken with Teal, Green Galore (SU)
Ink: Ocean (CTMH), Copics, SU Markers.
Accessories: Ribbon (Michael's), Punch (Martha Corner Punch), Brads (K&Company)